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Federal & Provincial Governments pledge to achieve EFA Goals

Islamabad, 26 April 2012: Federal and Provincial Ministers, and senior officials from all the provinces agreed to expedite coordinated action towards achievement of Education For All Goals, and formulate necessary provincial legislation for enforcement of Article 25-A of the 18th Amendment of Constitution in the country. Inaugurating the Inter-provincial Forum on Early Childhood Education (ECE) under the framework of EFA Week 2012, jointly organized by UNESCO, UNICEF and Aga Khan Foundation in Islamabad. Mir Hazar Khan Bajarani, Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination, reaffirmed the support and responsibility of the Federal Government for provision of constitutional right of all children to free and compulsory education.He proposed that a Forum be created for provincial Governments, Federal Government. and the donors to come together and coordinate strategies and assistance for the achievement of EFA Goals in Pakistan. The Inter-provincial Forum on ECE was organized as part of observance of Education For All Global Action Week. In April 2000, Pakistan signed Dakar Framework of Action, along with 164 countries of the world, and committed to achieve EFA targets. The EFA Week is observed internationally to reaffirm this historical pledge and review progress towards achievement of the EFA goals.

Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister for Professional and Technical Training, chaired the concluding session of the Forum. He regretted that although constitution of Pakistan has now guaranteed the right of all to free education, 7 million children are still out of schools and 50 million Pakistanis are illiterate. He assured that Federal Government will take all possible measures to facilitate promotion of Early Childhood Education and achievement of EFA Goals. Federal Government wants the Provinces to take the lead for managing the demographic dividend that they aim to generate after creating conditions for education for all, and making young children in the country “effective human resources”, he added.

Mian Shuja ur Rehman, Education Minister of Punjab, referred to the commitment of provincial leadership for achieving 100% enrolment and retention of children in primary schools by 2015.

Dr. Ruqyia Saeed Hashmi, Balochistan Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination, pointed out that deteriorating security situation in her province is negatively affecting the environment for conductive delivery of education, particularly attendance of teachers and students in the schools.

Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, UNESCO Representative to Pakistan, highlighted the role of good quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) in bridging the gap of socio-economic inequalities between rich and poor, and elimination of discrimination in the society. She urged increased investment by the provincial governments to improve learning conditions in Katchi classes of Primary Schools.

During the day long proceedings and at the conclusion of the Forum, the participants emphasized the need of raising education budget at least up to 4% of the GDP, creating a special budget line for Early Childhood Education (ECE), and creation of an Inter-provincial Forum on Education by the Federal Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination.

 Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occassion of Education for All Global Action Week
 Joint Regional Statement for Asia-Pacific