By: Maryam Usman
ISLAMABAD: The government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) have launched a three-year programme to provide quality education to girls, especially in the country’s more remote areas.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Girls’ Right to Education programme on Thursday, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman said that despite many challenges the government is committed to improving the standard of education.
The government, according to the minister, would welcome Malala Yousafzai if she intends to return to the country and provide her security.
The $7 million programme is funded under the Malala Funds-in-Trust agreement signed by Unesco Director General Irina Bokova and Balighur Rehman.
“Despite tremendous progress in access to education worldwide since 2000, there is still a long way to go,” Bokova said in a video statement. “Approximately 31 million (55%) girls are out of primary schools worldwide, including 3 million girls in Pakistan.”
She said that the new sustainable development goals (SDGs), that were recently agreed, has fully recognised access to education as a basic human right which is essential for sustainable development.
Unesco representative Vibeke Jensen said that the programme will be implemented over the next three years in 12 districts representing all the provinces and areas of the country.
The aim is to get 50,000 more girls enrolled in primary schools, increase their retention and improve learning outcomes, she added.
The programme, which will be implemented through civil society organisations, aims at supporting the government’s efforts in increasing access and improving the quality of girls’ education in remote districts of the country with low enrolment and poor retention rate of girls at primary level.
“There is a 10% gender gap of net enrollment rate between girls and boys in our country and we have vowed to eliminate this gap while targeting 100% net enrolment rate in the coming years,” the federal minister said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.
In an earlier version, the amount $7 million was incorrectly stated as $7 billion. The error is regretted and has been corrected.