Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday the government was committed to achieving the targets set under the Parho Punjab-Barho Punjab programme.
He was chairing a meeting to review progress on the programme which is part of the Punjab Schools Reforms Roadmap.
The chief minister said he hoped that the provincial government would achieve the target of enrolling every child in the province. He said a teachers’ training programme was an important component of the government’s reforms agenda. “Achieving targets in education is not possible without proper training of teachers,” he said. He said cooperation of the British Council was being sought for the purpose.
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The chief minister said teachers across the province had been recruited on merit. He said attendance of teachers and students had improved substantially. “Providing resources for the promotion of education is an investment in the country’s bright future. Quality education is the right of every child and the government is well aware of its responsibilities in this regard,” Sharif said. He said there was no shortage of resources for equipping children with education.
The chief minister said that billions of rupees were being spent on the repair and construction of school buildings. He ordered that dilapidated school buildings be repaired early. He said he believed that promotion of quality education was vital for fighting extremism. “A nation cannot progress until it gives priority to education,” he said.
Sharif stressed the need for providing better transport facilities to schoolchildren in rural areas. He said that bringing about a change through education was a collective responsibility.
Sir Michael Barber, the special representative for the Department for International Development, praised the provincial government for starting the Parho Punjab-Barho Punjab programme.
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Joanna Reid, the DFID head in Pakistan, said she was impressed with the way the chief minister worked for people’s welfare. She praised the government for its efforts aimed at improving the standard of education. She said she was hopeful that the Punjab government would achieve its educational goals.
Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed and the chief secretary also attended the meeting. Barber had participated in the deliberations through video link.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2015.
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