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June 11, 2015

Pakistan ranked among lowest in provision of primary education to vulnerable children


June 11, 2015

Pakistan is ranked amongst one of the lowest position countries with respect to the provision of education to the most vulnerable children of earlier years.
The concern was expressed by Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman at the inauguration of a three-day workshop titled ‘Orientation Training on Concepts and Methodology of Early Childhood Education for Low Cost Private Schools of Islamabad’ on Wednesday.
Around 50 institutional heads of the low cost private schools in Islamabad are participating in a workshop organised by Academy of Education Planning and Management (AEPAM). Islamabad alone has 1,200 low cost private schools and all over Pakistan there are 70,000 such institutions. Pakistan today has a population for almost 20 million people and amongst these 14 per cent are less than five years of age.
“Investing in young children is one of the smartest investments that developing countries can make,” said the Minister of State. He said that in developing countries, nearly 40 per cent of all younger than five are stunted or living in poverty. “These children are more likely to demonstrate lower academic achievements outcomes and exhibit poorer cognitive ability. These multi- risk factors can lead to poor physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive development and set children on a path of lower achievements,” he said.
He lamented that 200 million children under 5 years of age, in developing countries are not meeting their development potential due to absolute poverty and malnutrition.
“Conditions during the first three years set lifelong trajectories and influence the health, well-being, learning and behavior throughout the child’s life. Moreover most of adult mental ability is formed in the first three years of life which forms 80 per cent of brain growth,” stated the minister.
The minister admitted that in Pakistan, over 6.5 million children are not enrolled in

primary education, in other words 3 out of 10 primary age children are not enrolled in school. Drop out is highest in grade 5 indicating that many children do not transition to lower secondary education and don’t complete basic education. “We are mindful that these children need to be provided best services that will provide strong and lifelong foundation to be productive citizens of Pakistan,” he said.
Balighur Rehman said that with this vision and commitment, the Federal Ministry of technical education launched Parwaan center of excellence for early childhood education and care. This center housed at Academy for Education Planning and Development serves as a platform for all four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Fata.
Basic purpose of the centre is to create a national consensus on the importance of Early Childhood Education and Care. The centre would also coordinate among the E9 countries- India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Nigeria, Mexico as well. Parwaan would constitute models for the four-year-old child who sits in the ‘katchi’ classroom besides making community based interventions for the poorest of the poor children who don’t have access to a learning opportunity. The centre will also train low cost private sector in latest teaching methodologies.

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