10 December, 2010

Pakistan Girls Education Initiative (PGEI) launched


Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Enhancement in education budget, equity and gender equality of education are desired for correcting the present imbalance in education scenario. These were the remarks of the speakers at the launching ceremony of UN “Pakistan Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI)” at Pakistan National Council of Arts on Thursday. The event was jointly organized by Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), UNICEF and UK Department For International Development (DFID).

Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza was the chief guest on the occasion. “Education is the only path towards sustainable human progress, a bulwark against poverty and the essential block for development” she stated. To make Pakistan an ‘education friendly society’, 8 important bills at the concerned standing committee have been targeted towards universal education, especially the girl child. “PGEI was a welcome step towards enabling educational environment, where girls as well boys can flourish and unleash their potential” said Dr. Fehmida.

“Education is the best means to achieve social justice” said Ms Nafisa Shah (MNA), chairperson NCHD & co-chair PGEI while addressing the gathering.
Equality and equity should be guaranteed in the educational system of Pakistan. She called the meeting a unique opportunity combining all agencies such as United Nations, government, civil society and academia to enhance state of education in Pakistan.
The speakers said, special attention should be diverted to universal education, especially the girl child education.

Ms. Cheryl Faye, head of UNGEI Secretariat said the initiative was an outcome of the effective participation of the Pakistan delegation in United Nations Girls Education Initiative’s 10th anniversary conference held in May 2010 in Dakar, Senegal. She hoped that every child in Pakistan, girl and boy alike, will complete a high quality education. Girl education offers multiple benefits at multiple levels. She also shared the story of 10 year old Saima, a flood affectee living in a camp in Rahim Yar Khan. “It is my lifetime dream to go to school and continue education” Ms. Cheryl repeated the child’s words showing the concern of young Pakistani girls towards education.

Deepak Bhatachariya, Country Representative UNICEF for Pakistan discussed issues and challenges in girls’ education in Pakistan.
Recognizing the importance of female education, Aurangzeb Rehman, Dir. Gen. of Federal Directorate of Education said “National Education Policy 2009 has tried to overcome the shortcomings of previous policies by increasing the spending on education.”

Zulfiqar Ahmed said that government of Pakistan has endorsed gender equity education and gender sensitive policy strategies into national development policies at all levels. NCHD’s efforts will help evidence-based planning and implementation for enhancement of girl’s education in Pakistan.