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‘Comprehensive education policy on the cards’

By Our Correspondent
September 04, 2018

Islamabad: Federal minister for education and technical training Shafqat Mahmood on Monday declared out-of-school children, multiple streams of education, provision of quality education, removal of discrimination in education system and skill development real challenges for his ministry in the post-devolution regime and said the government was working on a comprehensive education policy to address them.

"The new education policy will also ensure provision of quality education to the people and will provide a level- playing field and equal opportunities to everyone," he told World Bank country director Patchamuthu Illangovan, who called on him in the ministry here.

The meeting was also attended by education secretary Arshad Mirza. The minister told the visitor that the ministry would launch a special programme for the education of street children and introduce a standard curriculum for the entire country with core compulsory subjects.

He said some of the reforms introduced in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa education sector by the last PTI government would be replicated in other parts of the country. The minister said Pakistan currently faced various challenges in education sector and that the government was fully committed to handling them with the support of the World Bank.

"Though most powers and functions of the education ministry have devolved to provinces after 18th Constitutional Amendment, we will still try to take the lead in introducing positive changes in the sector," he said.

The minister said he would ensure the ministry's reorganisation in a way that would be reflective of the government's educational priorities. He said the ministry would focus its attention on skill and human development.

"Vocational and Technical training is must. We are in the process of setting up skill universities besides being in close liaison with all chambers of commerce and other stakeholders in this regard," he said.

The minister suggested that the World Bank provide support to Pakistan on skill development in Pakistan. The WB country director appreciated the steps of the government for the promotion of education and offered the bank's help and support for it.

"We are looking forward to work closely with the government of Pakistan for the progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan and for promotion of education in the country," he said. The WB country director said the number of out-of-school children in Pakistan was a big problem and the World Bank would support any effort to bring the children to schools.

“Our second aim is that Pakistan should develop the national standards on education,” he said. Regarding the skill development, the WB country director said the bank was carrying out a study to know the gap between the current education and skills and the future nature of jobs.

"This exercise will be immensely beneficial for Pakistan, too, which can work on providing trainings in those skills that can match the future requirements of the jobs," he said. Both the minister and visitor agreed on keeping regular contact and coordination for addressing the challenges in the country's education sector.