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January 27, 2012

Pakistan remains off track in meeting


January 27, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Professional and Technical Training Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Thursday admitted that Pakistan continues to perform poorly in the education sector and remains off track in terms of meeting the education targets set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA).
Addressing the ceremony of Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) he said that according to UNESCO, Pakistan has the largest number of out-of-school children in South Asia with a majority being girls.
The federal minister said that the ASER 2011 data shows district-by-district vital information on gender disaggregated data that can help in planning and more importantly mobilizing resources on a need basis for education.
He appreciated the South Asian Forum for Education (SAFED), National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi as well as the development partners, the Department for International Development (DFID), the Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) Pakistan and Oxfam Novib for supporting this extremely critical participatory initiative.
Riaz Pirzada said that after passage of 18th amendment and Article 25-A, Education has become a fundamental right for all children aged 5-16. Therefore, ASER 2011 has become a forum for accountability and citizen’s voice acting as a watchdog, reminding the citizens as well as the government to play their active role. “As we approach 2015 the target date for fulfilment of MDGs, EFA, ASER Pakistan is indeed a very persuasive tool to gauge challenges and progress in education annually,” he said.
He said that ASER can be instrumental in acting as catalyst of change as volunteers knocks on doors making house holds change perceptions about the urgency of education and learning outcomes. The minister said that ASER is developing a great repository of vital data for the government, research institutions and political parties to use for policy making and action.

we step into the election year, I believe it is extremely necessary to make education as the highest priority in the electoral debates. It is that single most important sector that leads to significant gains in vital indicators of health, population, environment, gender empowerment, economic growth and democratic participation for sustainable societies,” he said.

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