Observance of Education for All Week 2013: "Every Child needs a Teacher"

As the world marks "Education for All Week", United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) urged policy makers to recognize the growing demand of trained teachers in order to provide quality education to all children in Pakistan. A 'Public Forum on Right to Education and Role of a Teacher' was organized on 25th April 2013 in Islamabad jointly by UNESCO and UNICEF to observe Education For All (EFA) Week 2013.

"Teachers, with their hard work, affection and stimulating interaction with children, not only transfer information, knowledge, and new skills to their pupils, but also play a key role in making the teaching-learning a joyful and participatory phenomenon". Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Representative of UNESCO in Pakistan, stated at the opening session of the event. She emphasized the welcoming news of ICT Act and Sindh Provincial Act that had been passed, on Article 25-A of constitution on free and compulsory education for all children age 5- 16. The event provided a platform to a wide cadre of educationists; teachers, policy makers and civil society representatives to recognize the fact that untrained teachers are one of the major obstacles in achieving universal primary education in Pakistan.

The deliberations in the event resonated the following three facts, which are part of messages of Global Campaign for Education in the context of EFA, i.e.
 Without teachers, a school is just a building,
 Without trained teachers, schooling is not education,
 Without trained teachers for all, education for all will never be a reality.

The public forum was chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Education and Training, Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, who reaffirmed the commitment towards all six goals of Education for All. Raising the issue of trained teachers in Pakistan, Mr. Qamar Zaman said that educated and professional teachers are mostly concentrated in cities and real challenge about qualified teachers is in rural and remote areas. He added, "Due to absence and inability of teachers to handle the students properly, dropout rate of students in rural areas is higher than urban centers". Professor Rafiq Tahir, Joint Secretary Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) presented an action plan for enforcement of Article 25-A of the constitution and right to free and compulsory education act 2012 in Islamabad. Mr. Khusro Pervez Khan, Director General National Commission of Human Development (NCHD), and Dr. Shaista Peerzada, Principle, Islamabad College of Girls, also spoke at the occasion.

UNESCO is a lead agency working with federal and provincial governments enactment of Article 25-A on free and compulsory education; already notified for Islamabad Capital Territory and Sindh province. UNESCO works to enforce national standards of training and to enhance teachers' professional status in order to assure quality education for all students. The importance of teachers has emerged as a core topic in the discussions about the post-2015 international education agenda.

Seminars, relies, and meetings were also organized by UNESCO in the provinces, including KPK, Sindh and Balochistan.
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