ISLAMABAD: Former British Prime Minister and Special Representative of the United Nations for Education Gordon Brown has resolved the dispute over education between the Centre and provinces during his lecture in Islamabad.
The sources said that the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) held on November 8, presided over by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, reviewed among other issues the devolution of the Education Ministry and transferring it to the provinces under the 18th Amendment. A discussion was also held on the objection by Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and other provinces that the Education Ministry could not be set up at the federal level after its devolution to provinces.
In this connection the concerned officials explained that the Ministry of Education and Training had been formed at the federal level after the decision of the Supreme Court. Federal Minister for Education Sheikh Waqas Akram and Secretary Education Chaudhry Qamar Zaman made it clear that the Supreme Court in its verdict on the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) case said that the federal government could not dissociate itself from education.
Under the Constitution it is the responsibility of the state to provide free and compulsory education to children aged 5-9 years.
No objection was raised from the chief minister Punjab after explanation was given by Sheikh Waqas. However, Waqas said that if anybody had any objection then he should approach the Supreme Court to remove his or her doubts.
On the next day, the same issue came to light in the formal meeting of former UK Prim Minister Gordon Brown. Sheikh Waqas and provincial education ministers were also present in the meeting.
Gordon Brown while addressing the education ministers gave references of devolution and transfer of powers at the grassroots level and said that Britain had also same problem 10 years ago and they solved the problem of education.
It was also quite interesting for the participants of the meeting that there were ministries of education at national level in 190 countries out of 192 of the United Nations and there were only two countries where there was no education ministry and these were Pakistan and Papua New Guinea. Gordon Brown gave a long lecture to the participants on this issue and explained the importance ministry of education. He said that international donor institutions and donors wanted to help Pakistan in spreading education among the children. He said a campaign to help educate Pakistani children emerged after the attack of Taliban on Malala.
Brown told the participants that there was no focal forum to which international funds could be transferred and now the Ministry of Education and Training had been made and everyone should cooperate with it. He said, “I want to tell you that Sheikh Waqas is the only person to whom you will talk and he will also collect the funds and provide facilities to you.”
After his lecture all the provinces were satisfied and the dispute of education between the Centre and provinces is almost solved.