PESHAWAR: Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Muhammad Atif Khan has said 70% education-related issues had been resolved by the PTI-led government over the last three years.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the newly-constructed Government Primary School (GPS) No-3 in Hayatabad for Afghan refugees, the minister stated 31 such institutes had been constructed with the help of UNHCR under the RAHA project.
Federal Secretary of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, German Ambassador Ina Lepel and UNHCR representative in Pakistan Indrika Ratwatte were present on the occasion.
Us and them
The education minister blamed previous governments for not properly concentrating on education which created numerous problems for the system in K-P. He claimed the PTI government spent 28% of the budget on the education sector and this was almost double compared to other provinces.
“Real change can only be possible through education,” Atif shared. He added the provincial government introduced an Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) which keeps check on teachers. He said absenteeism had reduced considerably as a result.
The minister appreciated the role of international organisations in supporting this important cause and acknowledged the fact education was the basic right of every child without any discrimination.
Lepel appreciated the efforts of the UNHCR and the government. She also underlined the need to support communities hosting Afghan refugees for the last many years. She added the improvement of living conditions, education, health and community infrastructure were key concerns for her country’s development efforts in Pakistan.
Ratwatte reaffirmed UNHCR’s commitment to enhance the capacity of the K-P government in the education sector. Ratwatte appreciated the provincial administration’s efforts to allow Afghan refugees to access government schools.
Through RAHA, a non-governmental organisation, 12 projects worth Rs277 million have been handed over to the federal government. They were funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, through Kreditanstalt fur Wiederufbau Development Bank (KFW), and the US government.
All the schools that were renovated and upgraded are located in lesser developed areas where Afghan refugees lived in large numbers. So far, 31 schools had been renovated and reconstructed under the project in different parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2016.
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