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"Innovating for Girls' Education" - the theme this year on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child observed in Pakistan

Islamabad, 11 October 2013: The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Children's Fund - (UNICEF) jointly hosted the Education Expo event in Islamabad.
The call this year "Innovating for Girls Education" on the International Day of the Girl Child recognizes girl's rights and the unique challenges they face arou>nd the world.

UNESCO urges the government to take necessary steps and considerations for an education emergency by increasing the GDP share on education and bringing improvement in the education sector, specially the girl's education by introducing new technology and innovations as well as raising awareness and initiating effective advocacy campaign. There is also a need to mobilize initiatives to meet the global efforts for achieving the education related Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the strategies for which the government has outlined in its National Plan of Action.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Director/Representative, UNESCO Islamabad briefed about UNESCO's innovative project for young rural girls entitled "Mobile-based Post Literacy Programme" which was a good example of providing literacy through an innovative use of mobile phone technology. She also mentioned about the capacity-building of ECE Teachers using the same technology, which was a pilot project with Ministry of CAD. Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata congratulated Malala Yousafzai for winning the Human Rights Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought bestowed upon her by the European Parliament in Brussels on this day.

Chief Guest, Mr. Baligh-ur-Rehman, State Minister for Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education, in his concluding address, pointed out the dismal situation of girls' education in Pakistan and especially emphasized the need to decrease the dropout rate among girls. The Minister of State also explained that a National Plan of Action had been prepared by the Ministry in consultation with the provincial governments and by 2017, Pakistan would achieve the set targets, one of which was achieving net enrolment rate from 68% in 2011-12 to 91% by 2015-16.

Other dignitaries attended the Seminar were Deputy Director of UNICEF, and Director UNFPA. The seminar concluded with the presentation of shields to the representatives of key organizations working for the cause of Girls' Education.

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