Up to 70 per cent of the $10 million ‘Malala Fund for Girl’s Right to Education’ throughout the world and Pakistan, announced by President Asif Ali Zardari in December 2012, will be used in Pakistan, whereas the remainder is earmarked for Afghanistan. With the support of the international community, Pakistan and Unesco signed the historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish this fund with $10 million as seed money.
Qian Tang, assistant secretary general (education) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) met Minister of State for Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education Balighur Rehman on Monday and discussed the modalities for the operationalisation of the fund.
The MoU was signed earlier between the then education minister Sheikh Waqas Akram and Unesco director general Irina Bokova at the UN’s Paris headquarters.
The Malala fund will be disbursed in two categories: special fund and fund in trust. The special fund of $7 million will be used in Pakistan and the remainder $3 million will be used by Unesco in Afghanistan under the fund in trust category.
80 per cent of the special fund in Pakistan would be used for formal education whereas the remainder will be used to support non formal education like Basic Education Community Schools and National Commission for Human Development.
The state minister proposed that the $3 million fund be used for Afghan refugee girls studying in Pakistan. The Unesco chief said that his agency would look into the matter for future consideration.
The representatives proposed that improvement in the quality of education of girls should be the central focus of activities undertaken by Unesco from this fund. They proposed that some model schools and technical and vocational training centres for girls can be established under this fund.
Rehman underscored the need for attracting more donors globally for pooling more funds and drawing attention towards girls’ education. He also emphasised the need for reduction in operational and transactional costs. He added that the global fund be used in line with the current government policy on education, the National Action Plan which has been finalised by the federal government and sent to the provinces, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Gilgit Baltistan.
A special Quality and Assurance Committee would implement the plan across the country. Unesco, government of Pakistan and selected civil society members will be represented in the committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.