National Forum on Education and Disability under UNESCO's Global Action Week on Education for All held in Islamabad

Islamabad - 7 May 2014: UNESCO Islamabad in collaboration with UNICEF organized a National Forum on EFA at Hotel Marriott, Islamabad. This forum aimed at advocating for EFA by stimulating a debate on Article 25-A of the Constitution and
education sector financing in Pakistan. The event was attended by representative of Government entities, parliamentarians, researchers, civil society organizations, academia and educational institutions. The national forum focused on interactive discussions focused on the required legislation and implementation under Article 25-A, increase in fiscal space, quality enhancement and developing a thorough monitoring system for education sector in Pakistan.

Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Director UNESCO Islamabad emphasized the realization of education for all particularly for person with disabilities in Pakistan. She said that an estimated 1.4 million persons with disabilities in Pakistan were the children of school going age, most of whom do not have access to either inclusive or special schools due to limited capacity in existing facilities. She said that Pakistan ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 5th July 2011 and Pakistan was among those 145 countries which ratified this Convention and thus its implementation was responsibility of the state and development organizations including disabled peoples organizations.

A presentation on Education Budgets was presented by Mr. Ahmad Ali, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Social and Policy Science (I-SAPS). He said that enhancing the education infrastructures as majority of the schools were still without basic facilities including; furniture and enough space for the children in schools can further improve the education enrollment in Pakistan.

Federal Secretary, Ministry of Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education, Islamabad (Mr. Muhammad Ahsan Raja) was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

The highlight of the event was a panel discussion arranged by UNESCO & UNICEF. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Allah Bukhsh Malik, Additional Secretary, MoET&SHE. Panellists include, Director UNESCO (Dr. Kozue Kay, Nagata), Deputy Director, UNICEF (Mr. John Ekaju), Federal Secretary Education (Mr. Muhammad Ahsan Raja), Mr. Ahmad Ali, Senior Research Fellow (I-SAPS) and Mr. Atif Ali Sheikh, President, Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP). The panellists spoke about the rights of persons with disabilities with special focus on Inclusive Education.

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