Thursday July 18, 2024

PM forms 19-member taskforce to resolve education issues

The prime minister himself will be chairperson of the taskforce

By Rana Ghulam Qadir
June 25, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif seen in this undated image. — X/@pmln_org/File
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif seen in this undated image. — X/@pmln_org/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has constituted an education taskforce to resolve all issues related to the national education emergency.

The prime minister himself will be chairperson of the taskforce and other 19 members of the committee would include federal minister for Education and Vocational Training, federal Minister for Information Technology and federal minister for Information and Broadcasting.

The federal secretary would be the convener of the education taskforce. Provincial education ministers and secretaries will also be part of the committee. The World Bank country head would be the co-convener.

Other members include Asian Development Bank country head, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office head, UNICEF representative, UNESCO country head, WFP country head, JICA country head, Pakistan Education Endowment Fund Chairman Amjad Saqib, JIK Institute Chief Executive Officer Shakeel Durrani, Farid Panjwani of Aga Khan University, Syed Asad Ayub of Citizen Foundation, LUMS Vice Chancellor Ali Cheema, LUMS School of Education Dean Dr Faisal Bari and Malala Fund Country Director Javed Malik are also part of the taskforce.

The taskforce will present recommendations for projects on education in Pakistan. The taskforce will also make an assessment of the education system of Pakistan and hurdles to achieving the literacy targets. The taskforce will also work on policymaking regarding the government schools and education of the poor children and make important decisions regarding promotion and improvement of quality of education in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the PM reiterated that the federal government along with all the provincial governments resolved to eliminate the menace of polio forever and said they were fully committed to control its spread through collective efforts.

Addressing a meeting of the National Task Force on Polio Eradication, the prime minister said that the polio eradication campaign in the country was progressing positively and they were close to eliminate polio but unfortunately, things turned negative as the virus returned back in certain parts of Pakistan, still it did not show that they had failed in their efforts.

Gates Foundation Chairman Bill Gates, ministers, senior officials and relevant authorities were present during the meeting. Shehbaz assured Bill Gates that the government was fully committed “to continue its efforts in our own interests to protect the lives of our children and make them healthier”.

He said that during the last six months, they ran two nation-wide polio eradication campaigns successfully along with five others targeting the polio-hit areas. He also stressed that they would have to act swiftly to produce results in the coming days and months.

All the newly formed federal and provincial governments had completely resolved that they would spare no efforts to control the menace, he added. The prime minister told Bill Gates that they held a holistic security conference the other day and held lengthy discussions to counter surge of terrorism and other relevant security issues.

Recalling his meeting with Bill Gates in Riyadh on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF), he said that they had held comprehensive discussions on polio eradication and health related issues of Pakistan.

Lauding the Foundation’s efforts and donations for the polio eradication campaigns and for lifting of sufferings of humanity, he said that Pakistan had been a beneficiary of its financial support over malnutrition, and mother and child healthcare issues.

In the polio eradication campaigns, Gates’ cooperation and support had been consistent in the last many years to the tunes of millions of dollars, he added.

The prime minister said that investment in the polio eradication programmes in Pakistan had been significant as during the year 2022 it stood at $240 million, in 2023 $263 million and in 2024 $297 million.

He further informed the meeting that during the WEF, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also pledged $500 million dollars for the next five years.

He said that there were other areas of cooperation between Pakistan and the Foundation, including the digitisation of education and health sectors, expressing gratitude to Bill Gates for support over the digitisation of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The prime minister said that they would like to seek Gates’ advice on education and health sectors also. He viewed digitalisation process to ensure huge dividends to Pakistan’s economy.

He also reassured that the government would utilise all its resources for polio eradication and he would hold regular meetings with the provincial governments and all the stakeholders in that regard.

The prime minister also welcomed Bill Gates and his team to visit Pakistan on behalf of the people, the government and the provincial authorities. Speaking on the occasion, Bill Gates said that they had to address all the areas in a better way in the next few months to keep up the positive momentum.

He said that they were committed to Pakistan in its efforts to eradicate polio and address other health related issues, including malnutrition, and mother and child health. Gates underlined that they should dedicate themselves to eradicate polio by making progress in the next six months and should continue their successful efforts in the next few years to completely efface polio virus from the country.