ISLAMABAD: The United Kingdom on Tuesday offered Pakistan support in resolving the issue of some 22 million out-of-school children in the country, even as the government pointed out that it has set up a task force to review the education system.

This was disclosed as British High Commissioner Thomas Drew led a high-powered delegation to meet with the Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood in the federal capital on Tuesday.

During the meeting, Mahmood briefed the delegation about the education crises and said that the new government was currently facing a host of challenges in the education sector and that the government was fully committed to resolving these challenges.

“We are working on making a comprehensive education policy which will address these challenges, will ensure quality education and provide a level playing field and equal opportunities to everyone,” Mahmood said, adding that a special programme for street children will also be introduced. Noting that most of powers and functions of the federal education ministry had been devolved to the provinces after the 18th amendment, his ministry will still try to take a leading role in setting a direction and work in coordination with the provinces for introducing positive changes.

Drew appreciated the steps being taken by the government and offered help and support in this regard.

He added that they were looking forward to working closely with the government for the progress and prosperity of the people and for the promotion of education in the country.

UK Department for International Development chief Joanna Reid stated that her agency had worked with the K-P and Punjab governments in the education sector.

She offered to share DFID’s experiences and lesson learnt with the education ministry to help bring out-of-school children into schools.

British Council Pakistan Director Rosemary Hilhorst said that they have been working for almost 70 years in Pakistan for promoting education. 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2018.