Islamabad: Education activists Thursday joined forces to call for the urgent convening of a national Girls’ Education Task Force.
In a statement issued here after launching a series of fact sheets to draw attention to the state of girls’ education, the organisations, including Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), Social Youth Council of Patriots (Sycop), Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBT), and Awaaz CDS, reminded the PTI Government of its election promises on completion of its first 100 days, calling to make girls’ education a priority as part of its new National Education Plan.
Appreciating the government’s resolve to tackle Pakistan’s education crises, Ume Kalum of Sycop shared, “It is very encouraging to note that during the first 100 days since it came to power, the government has expressed its resolve to address the colossal issue of 22.8 million out of school children in the country.”
Areebah Shahid, Executive Director PYCA also praised the recent efforts of the Federal Minister for Education, Shafqat Mehmood for responding to a long-awaited request of the civil society to call an inter-provincial meeting of the education ministers to chalk out key priority areas for education reforms in the country.
The girls’ education fact sheets bring together key data from various government departments and development organizations, presenting an overview of the situation at both a national and provincial level. They include key policy recommendations unique to each province.
Marriyum Amjad of Awaz CDS said, “The most alarming fact notes that the net enrolment rate for girls stands at 72% at primary level; this comes down to 45% at middle school level and further drops to 27% at secondary level. This shows that while Pakistan has made strides in the realm of primary education for girls, greater attention and a coherent national policy is required to bridge the gender gap at secondary and higher secondary levels.”
As a first step to address this glaring concern, the civil society organisations urged the federal and provincial governments to form girls’ education task force for devising a national education policy.
They also demanded an increase of 4-6% of the GDP in the spending on education with an annual increase of 1%; benchmark indicators and minimum quality standards for education should be defined and followed across the country; greater infrastructural investment should be made for girls’ higher secondary schools and the scope of Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan (that pledges free and quality education for every child between 5 and 16 years should be expanded to cover the first 12 years of education.