Pakistan Reading Project holds National Dialogue on Removing Gender Disparities in Education. Education is an essential means of empowering women with the knowledge and skills necessary to fully participate in the process of development and progress in Pakistan. The Pakistan Reading Project (PRP) organized a National Dialogue on removing gender disparities in education at the Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad. A precursor of International Women’s Day, this event marked the start of celebrations of women’s achievements and the struggle for gender parity in Pakistan. Leading experts from the field of education, representatives from USAID as well as officials from provincial/regional governments across the country attended the event. Dr. Christopher Steel, Education Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Pakistan was the guest of honor at the occasion; also in attendance were Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, Allama Iqbal Open University and Dr. Samina Amin Qadir, Vice Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University.
“Together, we have a tall mandate to make concrete commitments to gender equality. For both Pakistan and the United States, making quality education accessible to all is in our best interests. I hope that today’s discussion and recommendations lead to new, practical policies and systems that work for the larger benefit of all our students and teachers,” stressed Dr. Steel while addressing the audience.
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The day-long discussion focused on gender disparities in girls’ accessing and completing education and identifying gender sensitivities in curriculum, classroom instruction, and materials. The USAID funded Pakistan Reading Project highlighted its efforts to ensure inclusivity in all reading materials developed for early grades in government schools.
The USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project is a $165 million project designed to support provincial and regional departments of education to improve the reading skills of primary school children across the country. This program includes three interrelated components to improve the quality of early grade reading education: improved classroom learning environment for early grade reading, improved policies and systems for early grade reading, and community based support for early grade reading in Pakistan.