(APP): President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called for focused
attention to develop primary education facilities in the country saying “it
was not merely a matter of education but also of national survival, development
and security in the long run”. The degree of focus on education today will
determine the survivability and quality of life of the people tomorrow, he
said during his meeting with the delegation of Task Force on Education (PTEF)
at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Pakistan Education Task Force (PETF) is a recent initiative
being implemented with the assistance of United Kingdom with the objective
to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of universal access and gender
parity in the education sector.
The President said that the Government attaches
great importance to development of education sector and is focusing on
not only bringing about qualitative change in this sector but also extending
the network of education institutions and eliminating ghost institutions
in the far flung areas. He said that the assistance of the international
community was greatly needed in direct investments in the people of Pakistan
especially in the education sector.
He said the government was aware of
the fact that the budgetary constraint was
a major debilitating factor for launch of various initiatives and providing
incentives to the parents to persuade them to send their children to
schools and that is why it is resorting to the international community to assist
the Government in education sector especially.
He said that lack of proper
education facilities with poverty is not only hindering our national
but also enabled the militants to mislead the impoverished youth by
offering them free shelter and food in institutions that preach hatred and
However, the President said, merely more allocations and resources
will not address the problems and issues in the education sector. While it
increase allocations for education, it is no less important to ensure
that the additional resources and increased allocations are also translated
into enhancing the learning skills of the children, he said.
The malaise that plagued our education sector was less that enough children
did not go to schools and more that the children already going to schools
learning well, the President said.
He said that quality education was
steel armour that equipped a student to fight battle of life while
was like wooden armour and of no help in the battle of life.
We must provide our children and youth with the steel armour, the President
President Zardari said that quality education depended largely on
and quality curriculum which in turn call for a shift in investment
towards developing the human resources in education sector particularly
primary school teachers.
Calling for giving more incentives to
primary school teachers
the President advised the Government to examine the feasibility
of pressing into service the incentive program of BISP (Benazir Income
and the associated Smart Card for this purpose.
Giving incentives through BISP will help creating a new team
of quality primary school teachers to ensure that children already going
Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Co-Chair PETF and SAPM, briefed
the President about achievements of the Task Force so far and said
that PETF started
its work by simplifying the National Education Policy to
a seven-point agenda
that consist of setting clear standards for learning,
school performance and district performance; developing and implementing simple
processes for monitoring purposes; informing citizens;
providing state support
and funding to non-government institutions, focussing
provision of quality
text books and professional development for teachers,
building the capacity and providing basic facilities for every school.
She said that Government was visualizing 86% literacy by
2015 as compared to 57% of the present literacy rate with an objective of
primary education by 2015.
She said that the focus
was on improving the quality of education, equitable access, improving
The members of the delegation included among others Ms.Shahnaz
Ali, SAPM, Adam Thomson, UK High Commissioner, Ms. Nehnaz Aziz, Dr. Fareeha Zafar,
Rachid Benmessaoud, Country Director World Bank, David Taylor, Deputy
Head of Programs DFID, Dr. Philip Powell Davies, Senior Human Development
Advisor, Dr. Warren Mellor, Director UNESCO Islamabad, Atussa Ziai, Education
GTS and Ms. Katie Donohoe, Acting Director USAID Islamabad.
Ahmed Ali, Minister for Education, M. Salman
Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Imtiaz Kazi, Secretary Education,
Sibtain Fazal Haleem,
EAD and Spokesperson to the President former
Senator Farhatullah Babar were also present in the meeting.