ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is facing an education emergency. The facts are shocking. Half the adult population - and two thirds of women - are illiterate, said Andrew Mitchell, UK Secretary of State for International Development here on Thursday.
He said Pakistan will be one of the highest priorities of new UK secretary of state for international development.
Mitchell said he has identified education as one of his main areas of focus.
“DFID is committed to supporting the Government of Pakistan in achieving its education goals and speeding up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
“Following my discussions yesterday (with top Pakistani functionaries) we are confident that the Government of Pakistan will ensure that the necessary resources are made available to improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the education system in Pakistan,” he said.
He urged Pakistan to stay on track with its IMF programme and use its resources to help the poorest people. He said that without macroeconomic stability, a growing economy and a helping hand for the poorest, the aspirations of 180m Pakistanis will remain unfulfilled.
The children who will immediately benefit from this programme are enrolled in government primary and secondary schools, especially girls. It will also benefit children from the poorest families who would not be able to attend school without such assistance.
Later while talking to the media, the secretary said there will be an effective system to monitor the rehabilitation project of DFID. He added that monitoring through media will be appreciated and Britain considers the media as a best monitor for such projects of public interest.
The British high commissioner who was accompanying Mitchell told The Express Tribune that security concerns are there for UKAID as the education system and schools in Fata and Swat were mainly targeted and hit by militants.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 11th, 2010.