Education Task Force for Girls’ call for enrollment of 12 million out of school girls; Marriyum Amjad

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ISLAMABAD: To mark the first 100 days of the new Pakistan government, education activists joined forces to call for the urgent convening of a national Girls’ Education Task Force today. Ms. Marriyum Amjad of Awaz CDS shared, “The most alarming fact notes that the net enrollment rate for girls stands at 72% at primary level; this comes down to 45% at middle school level and further drops to 27% at secondary level[1]. This shows that while Pakistan has made strides in the realm of primary education for girls, greater attention and a coherent national policy is required to bridge the gender gap at secondary and higher secondary levels”. The girl’s education fact sheets bring together key data from various government departments and development organizations, presenting an overview of the situation at both a national and provincial level. They include key policy recommendations unique to each province. As a first step to address this glaring concern, Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), Awaz Foundation Pakistan, Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), Social Youth Council of Patriots (SYCOP) and Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Tariqi (IBT) are urging the federal and provincial governments to form a Girls Education Task Force for devising a National Education Policy.
Ms. Areebah Shahid, Executive Director PYCA also praised the recent efforts of the Federal Minister for Education, Mr. Shafqat Mehmood for responding to a long-awaited request of the civil society to call an inter-provincial meeting of the education ministers to chalk out key priority areas for education reforms in the country. Launching a series of fact sheets to draw attention to the state of girls’ education, the organizations — including Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), Awaz Foundation Pakistan, Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), Social Youth Council of Patriots (Sycop),and Idara BarayeTaleem-o-Taraqi (IBT)— called on the new government to make girls’ education a specific priority as part of its new National Education Plan.
Additionally, the civil society organizations are also demanding that the national spending on education be increased to 4-6% of the GDP (with an annual increase of 1%); benchmark indicators and minimum quality standards for education should be defined and followed across the country; greater infrastructural investment should be made for girls’ higher secondary schools and the scope of Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan (that pledges free and quality education for every child between 5 – 16 years) should be expanded to cover the first 12 years of education.

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