Minister urges donors, NGOs for support in education sector

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Minister of State for Federal Education Engineer Muhammad Baligh ur Rahman Wednesday urged the non-government organizations (NGOs) and donors for continuing their role and support in the education sector.

Speaking at a conference titled “Peace through Education” a long term solution to peace building organized by Human Resource Development Network and International Rescue Committee held here, he appreciated efforts of the donors and NGOs in the sector and said that peace is linked with the education.

He said that out of schools children is a major issue of the country as knowledge is necessary for both boys and girls.

In last two years with the efforts of the present government the number of out of school children has been decreased by two million, he added.

The total spending on education has been significantly increased in last three years as the government was now spending 7.75 billion in the sector which was only 5.50 billion two years before.

The Minister appraised to see 63% girls’ enrollment in an area like FATA through this program and said it proves that nothing is impossible if we have a will to do it.

“We are better off than India in gender disparity regarding education”, said the Minister.

He added that “we have started remodeling our public schools in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) which is a step in the right direction.

Excess to schools is still difficult for children in many areas of the country “so we need to build more schools for children because every child is our responsibility regardless of which province or area he/she belongs to, the minister emphasized.

He informed that this year “we are hoping to achieve approximately 12 percent of tax to growth domestic product (GDP) ratio and education budget of 2.7 percent of GDP”.

Moreover he said our government is committed towards education and “I request the donor partners to support the government in this regard because until and unless we increase our tax to GDP ratio, increase our funding and fiscal space, nothing can be done for the betterment of education till then.

Among other speakers Suhail Awan Executive Director Human Resource Development, Admiral (retd) Muhammad Asif Sandila, Dr Jamila Razzaq, Advisor Education, AKF-P and others participated in the conference.

He said that federal education ministry with the consultation of the provinces has established the “National Curriculum Council” adding, besides curriculum “We are committed for the character building of the students.

The conference was arranged in the context of successful implementation of “children education for Peace” model in FATA. It highlighted the current commitments of Government of Pakistan and all major donors regarding children education specially girls’ education in post conflict areas.

Conference highlighted the need for replication of such programmes to promote sustainable peace.

The Brookings centre for Universal Education USA has already documented the project and published a comprehensive policy brief on it which was shared with the conference’s participants.