Development partners and international agencies on Tuesday stressed on the need for sustainable education reforms which are effective beyond the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline.
At a consultation organised by Pakistan Coalition for Education, UNESCO Director Vibeke Jensen argued that “For the sake of all children in Pakistan and globally, the post-2015 education agenda must ensure inclusion, quality, cover education at all levels and be universally relevant, considering the current literacy rate and status of indicators in Pakistan.”
The consultation, according to a press release, looked into international development partners’ perspectives on the post-2015 education agenda. Donor agencies and foreign governments spend millions of dollars annually in Pakistan, and many of the projects they fund specifically target education.
“We are hopeful that by the end of 2015, we will have a comprehensive strategy towards ensuing education for all,” said Zehra Arshad, National Coordinator at Pakistan Coalition for Education.
Supporting the idea, USAID Education Office Director Thomas LeBlanc said, “It is critical to invest in education in Pakistan and role of donors is to coordinate all these efforts, which should go from national to provincial, district, tehsil and school level”. He further added that there should be increased devolution to ensure better governance, and also called for greater coordination among various donor agencies.
The Millennium Development Goals, some of which deal with education, had been ratified by 164 UN member states, with 2015 as the deadline towards achieving these goals. With regards to education, these goals include providing free and compulsory primary education for all, promoting learning and life skills for young people and adults, increasing the literacy rate by 50 per cent, eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and gender equality by 2015, besides improving the quality of education.
However, Pakistan has not achieved any of the goals on education, and so the post-2015 education agenda needs to be looked at to ensure the provision of quality, equitable and inclusive education for children in the nation.
Participants at the consultation agreed that the post-2015 education agenda needs to create and harmonize a mechanism for effective civil society engagement with the government, so that there is better monitoring and accountability of all processes related to education, which should be linked to all levels of management.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2015.
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