The Education in Pakistan is a topic of prime national importance. There can possibly be no two opinions about the fact that education is integral to the prosperity of our country.” These views were expressed by senior journalist Zarrar Khuhro while moderating the webinar, “Pakistan, Education & Agenda 2030” organized by Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA).
Panelists of the webinar included members of the Punjab assembly Uzma Kardar and Bushra Anjum Butt, senior journalist Quatrina Hosain and PYCA Executive Director Areebah Shahid.
Areebah Shahid while sharing the findings of PYCA’s recently published white paper, “Public Investment in Education: An Appraised of SDG 4” pointed out, “SDG-4 talks about equitable education for all. Our white paper noted that the education departments/ministries and the SDG secretariats across the country were working in isolation. Owing to this Pakistan is yet to devise a mechanism that would allow the progress made under SDG-4 to be effectively gauged.” She also shared that the targets that Pakistan had set for itself under SDG-4 and the actual areas where education budgets were being allocated and spent did not have much in common.
Speaking about the role of the opposition in furthering the education agenda, PML (N)’s MPA Bushra Anjum Butt shared, “Pakistan’s education dilemma cannot be addressed in isolation. We require strong coordination between governmental departments, between the NGOs, and between the provinces.”
Senior journalist, Quatrina Hosain urged the state to declare an education emergency throughout the country. “We need to have an emergency declared for education. This should be followed by each MNA and MPA taking the responsibility of monitoring the schools in their respective constituencies. In all likability, this will quickly turn things around for the better.”
Chairperson of the provincial Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, MPA Uzma Kardar acknowledged that girls’ access to education across Punjab remained a challenge. “We are conscious of and committed to ensuring that greater resources are allocated to bring and retain more girls at the secondary level.” She also stated that the first step in this direction would have to be the allocation of greater resources for education. “We can’t make any substantial difference at the current rate at which Pakistan is investing in its education system.”
The webinar was part of PYCA’s “Invest in Education, Strengthen Pakistan” campaign.