ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mahmood Tuesday announced to introduce a special programme for street children to educate them and bring them into mainstream.
“Pakistan is currently facing various challenges in education sector however, the present government is fully cognizant of its responsibilities to resolve these challenges”, he said.
The Minister was talking to a British delegation led by Mr. Thomas Drew, UK Ambassador to Pakistan, which called on him here Tuesday. Head of Department for International Development (DFID) Joanna Reid and Director British Council Pakistan, Rosemary Hilhorst were among the delegation. Federal Secretary Education, Mr. Arshad Mirza was also present on the occasion.
Welcoming the British delegation, the Federal Minister said that education is the top most priority of this government.
Shafqat Mahmood said the country is facing various challenges in education sector including bringing the out-of-school children to schools, establishing a uniform education system and curriculum, ensuring quality education and working on the skill development. “We are working on making a comprehensive education policy that will address all these challenges, ensure quality education and will provide level playing field and equal opportunities to everyone”, the minister stated.
The Minister said that although most powers and functions of the Ministry after 18th Amendment have devolved to provinces but the Ministry would try to take a lead role in setting a direction and work in coordination with provincial governments for introducing positive changes.
The Federal Minister informed the delegation that the Ministry and its attached departments would be revitalized in a way that they reflect our priorities in education sector.
The Minister informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has set up a National Task Force on Education to address these challenges and a very fruitful first meeting of the Task Force held yesterday. The task force is comprised of sub-groups and each group is given one task each to deliberate upon and give their recommendations to the Minister.
He further said that our main priority would also be on the skill development and human development. Vocational and Technical training is must and we are in the process of setting up Skill Universities.
The British delegation congratulated Shafqat Mahmood on his appointment as Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training on his appointment. He appreciated the steps the present government intends to take for promotion of education and offered support in this regard.
He said that we are looking forward to work closely with the government of Pakistan for uplift of education sector. He pointed out that the number of out-of-school children in Pakistan is a big problem and assured his all-out support.
DFID Head, Joanna Reid stated that education is of utmost importance to us and DFID has worked with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments in education sector. DFID will share its experiences and lesson learned with Education Ministry that may be helpful in bringing out-of-school children to schools.
Rosemary Hilhorst, Director British Council Pakistan appreciated the present government for their social welfare agenda and putting education on top.
She said that British Council has been working for almost 70 years now in Pakistan for the promotion of education. She assured full support to the the education minister from British Council in the promotion of education in Pakistan.