ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education has launched the National Plan of Action 2013-16 to enrol 5.1 million out of school children to get 76 per cent of them in schools.
With the objective of achieving universal primary education in Pakistan, a part of Millennium Development Goals, the National Plan of Action is based on eight provincial/area plans. Each plan would review the education situation in its respective area, identify the gap in primary enrolments, quantify the number of out-of-school children, analyze the reasons for low enrolments and high drop-out rates and suggest enhancement of existing options to attain maximum progress within the stipulated time frame.
The UNO has given 2015 as the deadline to get 100 per cent enrolment in primary schools but in Pakistan only Punjab is the province that expects to achieve 100 per cent enrolment by 2015, while Islamabad has set a target of 97 per cent and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of 95 per cent, Sindh 80 per cent, AJK 75 per cent, and Balochistan and FATA may not exceed 66 per cent. Primary net enrolment is estimated to increase by 6 to 7 per cent annually during the period of action plan. With over 5 million children to be additionally enrolled within three years while the figure of out-of-school children is estimated to decline from 6.7 million in 2011/12 to 2.1 million by 2015/16.
Under this plan, 80 per cent children will be enrolled in public sector school, 10 per cent will be enrolled in deeni madaras while it is estimated that the private sector will also absorb 10 per cent proportion. The estimated cost of implementing the National Plan of Action 2013-16 is Rs188,680 million while actual expenditure to be spent is Rs594,961 million. To increase access to education, awareness campaigns would be launched to promote the importance of education, community involvement in supervision of local education and use of media. This requires the cost of Rs69,574 million. Minister for Education Engineer Balighur Rehman on the launch said the government is striving hard to increase education expenditure up to 4 per cent of GDP by the year 2018. "We have to initiate key reforms in terms of improving service delivery and enrolling more children into schools ", he added. Federal Secretary Ahmed Bakhsh Lehri on the occasion said education is important to address the issues of food security, climate change, poverty and terrorism etc. He appreciated the efforts of the provincial authorities in formulation of the Plan of Action.
Unesco Director Dr Kouze Kay Nagata said the Unesco has provided technical assistance to make sure enrolment of 25 million out of school children of primary and secondary age group. She emphasized on increasing spending on education up to four or five percent of GDP in upcoming years. Unicef representative Don Rohrmann said strong political will is needed to enrol the millions of out of school children in the schools. Officials from Department of Education, Ministry of Capital Administration and Development, different organisations and NGOs attended the launching ceremony.
AIOU announces 50pc fee waiver to remote area students
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The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Nazir Ahmed Sangi said the students of remote regions, where new campuses are being established, will be given 50 per cent concession in fee.
Besides giving the financial support to such students, other necessary measures are also being taken to improve the literacy rate particularly in the far-flung areas, he said while inaugurating the newly constructed building of AIOU at Khuda Abad. The building of the campus built recently comprises the computer lab, a library, video-conferencing system, laboratory, examination and workshop rooms. The building is situated at such a place that it will facilitate thousands of students to come to avail the education, he added. He said 50 per cent fee concession will be available for the students of Khuda Abad. The VC said that an allocation of Rs100 million has also been reserved to support the poor and deserving students, particularly those living in rural areas. He said at the level of matric, the socio-economic based courses have been introduced to prepare the youth for taking part in country’s development. Renowned social leader Amanullah Sheikh also addressed the inaugural ceremony.