UNESCO would spend US$ 7 million to expand access to education, improve quality and make educational environments safe for children, especially girls in the remote and backward regions of the country during the next five years.
This was revealed by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova in a joint press briefing with State Minister for Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education held on Thursday.
UNESCO would provide this amount under Malala Fund for Girls’ right for expanding access for girls to primary and secondary education, increasing employment of female teachers in girls’ schools, training teachers, activating Parent-Teachers Associations, community awareness programmes and gender responsive budgeting and resource allocations, she said.
The provision of missing facilities and equipping students and teachers with peace education and conflict management resolution would also be covered under the programme. She emphasized on investing in girls education and said “educating the masses is the best way of achieving economic success, justice and equity.”
Irina Bokova said the country comprises over sixty percent population of youth which is a huge asset and giving them education can help revitalize the whole economy.
Speaking on the occasion, Balighur Rehman reiterated the government’ pledge to increase the spending on education from two percent of GDP up to four gradually. He said investment in education is prerequisite for peace in the country and if there is no peace, poverty will intensify. He said the government has formulated a plan of action for education and this is high time to implement that plan and enrol more children to the schools.
The minister said many girls are deprived of their fundamental right to education and there is need to educate and convince their families and communities about importance of education. The plan of action, he said, has targeted ending gender disparity from 10 percent to five percent.
The agreement to provide US$ seven million was signed, in a meeting held earlier, by the Irina Bokova and Muhammad Balighur Rehman. The meeting was attended by senior officials of the ministry and UNESCO.
The activities under the programme will be implemented by UNESCO in close coordination and collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education and the Provincial departments.
A steering committee comprising the representatives of the government and UNESCO will monitor and coordinate the overall implementation of the programme.