ISLAMABAD: United Nations’ Envoy for Global Education and former British prime minister Gordon Brown said on Friday that along with the help of the international community he will help Pakistan end discrimination against girls who go to schools.
Speaking at an event held under Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme (BISP), Brown said, “We will meet next year with the president of the World Bank, UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and Pakistani ministers to ensure the international community is able to do everything it can do to help you [Pakistan] as you employ teachers, build schools, provide learning materials and end discrimination that should not exist against girls who go to schools.”
Highlighting the importance of education, Brown said, “I support you [Pakistan] in every effort you are making because there is no more precious asset, no greater investment, nothing that signifies better your faith in the future, but the help and support you give to every child in your country.”
He furthermore said that education should be made common for all. “For the whole of our human history, we have until now, developed only some of our talents of only some of our children. What you are seeing today with this great announcement, for which I applaud you, is our intention from now on to develop all of our talents of all of our children.”
A recent UN report noted that Pakistan had the second worst global rate of children out of school with as many as 5.1 million children out of classrooms. Of these, 3 million were females.
Million-signature petition for Malala
Brown presented a petition with more than a million signatures in support of shot schoolgirl education campaigner Malala Yousafzai to the Pakistan government.
The 15-year-old is recovering in hospital in Britain after being shot in the head by Taliban militants a month ago in the Swat Valley for the “crime” of promoting girls’ right to go to school.
Brown is visiting Pakistan to call for education for all children and to mark Malala Day – Saturday – a global “day of action” in support of Malala and girls’ education.
“Malala and her family believe that there are many many more courageous and brave girls and families in your country who want to stand up for the right of every child, in particular girls, to have the education that they deserve,” he said.
Malala thanked people around the world for their support on Friday in a message from hospital passed on by her father.
Zardari launches ‘Waseela-e-Taleem’ initiative
President Asif Ali Zardari launched “Waseela-e-Taleem” initiative under the umbrella of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) whereby over 3 million children of the poor families of the country would be provided financial assistance for enrolling them in primary schools in next four years, said a press release.
Addressing a special ceremony to launch the initiative at the President House, Zardari said that the government was according high priority to the promotion of education as no country can make any progress without investing in its human capital.
The president said that the Waseela-e-Taleem program lays a solid foundation for the brighter future of poor children of the country.
Appreciating BISP, the president also thanked the international community especially DFID, World Bank and international development partners including UK, China and Turkey for their support in promoting education in Pakistan.