ISLAMABAD: Highlighting the importance of female education and the role it plays in country’s development, experts stressed on the role of academia, civil society and government towards making education compulsory for all and remove the bottlenecks in the implementation of Article 25A of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Special emphasis was laid on eliminating discrimination against girls towards provision of their basic right.
These thoughts were expressed by experts during National Conference on Girls Right to Education, organized by Awaz CDS Pakistan here.
Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of Children (NCRC) Afshan Tahseen, emphasized on the need of developing national and provincial education policies that will benefit the whole country. She highlighted how government can monitor the enforcement and administration of current legislation and assess and solve the bottlenecks concerning equity and quality in imparting educational for all. Lack of Implementation of Article25A is central to all challenges being faced by children and youth in our country, she highlighted.
Ali Kamal Chief SDGs Planning Commission of Pakistan, talked about current status of SDG-4 in the country and informed the factors hindering the implementation of Article 25 A. He said that, girls constitute the majority of Out of School Children (OOSC) population. He further said that SDG-4 is enabler to achieve all other 16-SDGs.
Speakers at the conference appreciated Awaz CDS for providing such platforms to develop and monitor national and provincial education policies that will benefit all students, providing a valuable forum to share information and strategies to improve educational equity, advocating for girls education and related issues, and monitoring the work of government on education policies and programs.
Convener at Parliamentary Research Group and Chief Executive, Vision 2047, Zafarullah Khan said that, there is a need to identify the reasons affecting education in the country. He said that Pakistan is a developing country and is far away from achieving the national and international educational targets. There are many stumbling factors in this regard like lack of educational funds; poor school facilities; poor management; absence of schools; unavailability of teachers; patriarchy and lack of awareness about the importance of education.
Chief Executive Awaz CDS Pakistan, Mohammad Zia ur Rehman said that “more than one decade has passed when Article25A was passed by the Parliament of Pakistan whereas its implementation so weak that nothing has been witnessed beyond commitment. we demand Government to establish an effective tracking and reporting system to capture the gender specific expenditures of education system for better policy making”.
He further said that to ensure education for every out-of-school girl in Pakistan by 2030, the provision of stipend / monetary incentive and nutritional support is necessary. He demanded to assign an identical e-identity number to every OOS girl specific with an identification of the target population and its location alongwith appropriate legislation to end child marriages.
Malala Education Champion Marium Amjad Khan said that 3.3% of girls in Pakistan are married off under the age of 15 while 18.3% of girls married off are under the age of 18, so early marriage is a big barrier in girls secondary education besides number of other social and economic reasons. We should start with changing the mindset of people.
There were panel discussions and various sessions in the conference in which speakers shared their knowledge and suggestions.
During the session on “Policy to Action progress on Education”, speakers shared their thoughts and insights regarding Girls Right to Quality Secondary Education. Executive Director Bedari (Punjab), Anbreen Ajaib, Executive Director Mechanism for Rational Change (Balochistan), Sumera Mehboob, Executive Director- Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Areebah Shahid, National Coordinator Pakistan coalition for Education, Zehra Kaneez and Programs Director-AzCorp Entertainment (Sindh), Madiha Rehman shared situation from their respective provinces and provided the audience with the whole scenario of education system in Pakistan.
This session was followed by sessions on “Development agenda and role of donor support”. Munazza Gillani Country Director Sightsavers International focused on inclusive and accessible education. Sadie Hussain from ACTED shared solutions to ensure No Girl Leave Behind. Mahwish Afridi from Hashoo Foundation shared Tech Education Schools in the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Zeeshan Noel from UNWOMEN focused on addressing patriarchal challenges to address girls education in Pakistan. A large number of representatives from government, academia, civil society, policy makers and educationists attended the event.