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World Bank delegation meets Shafqat Mahmood to discuss collaboration in education

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A World Bank delegation led by the Practice Manager Mr. Cristian Aedo met the Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing collaboration in education and opportunities to expand this partnership.

The Practice Leader Mr. Lire Ersado, the Lead Economist Ms. Tazeen Fasih, the Economist Mr. Koen Martijn Geven, and the Senior Education Specialist Ms. Izza Farrakh were part of the World Bank delegation.

Welcoming the delegation of World Bank, Shafqat Mahmood remarked that When he held the charge of this ministry, there was no project between the ministry and the World Bank but now we were jointly carrying out so many important projects including ASPIRE 200 million US dollar program, A program-for-Results financing, 400 million dollars Higher Education Development Program, 19 million US dollars Covid-19 Response, Recovery and Resilience in education project and 20 million USD DARE grant program

The Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood assured the World Bank to execute all these programs well within time.

The minister said that the ministry is also very keen and pleased to actively participate in the World Bank “Accelerator” programme for which we are formulating certain priority actions regarding out of school’s children, quality education, distance learning, and remedial learning.

Discussing the learning poverty, which is according to a survey has increased from 75 percent to 79 percent owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal education minister has said, we are very much concerned about the issue and in next IPEMC which is scheduled to be held this month in Karachi, the introduction of remedial courses to reduce the learning poverty would be the part of agenda of IPEMC.

Shafqat Mahmood also apprised the delegation of World Bank that the federal cabinet would accord the approval of the merger of different organizations of the ministry to create the Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE) as an executive department, today and it would be an outstanding organization for data gathering and to develop research and assessment mechanism.

The Chairman NAVTTC, Syed Javed Hasan who was also present in the meeting, requested the World Bank to start engagement with the country’s largest vocational training institution which is creating employability by equipping the youth with the latest skills. The World Bank nodded on the proposal and collaboration.

Highlighting the technological intervention projects launched by the federal education ministry in ICT including STEM and Blended learning project, Shafqat Mahmood said that before 2019, no educationist talked about the significance of technology in education on different fora but after the outbreak of COVID-19 all educationists were emphasizing on the use of technology to leapfrog the hurdles existing in the education system.

The technological interventions would take some time to show results but we were heading on right track, added the education minister.

The Federal Education Secretary Ms. Naheed Durrani emphasized on establishing a sustainable and permanent system of connectivity with the provinces for exchange of information and oversighting these projects instead of project by project liaison.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction over the progress of ongoing projects and reiterated their resolve for enhanced coordination and collaboration.

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