The plan of action for Sustainable Development Goals requires the government and relevant stakeholders to act in collaborative partnership to align SDG-4 (Quality Education) for implementation
QUETTA (Pakistan) – The final consultation phase-1 on SDG-4 – ‘’the Education 2030’’ concluded in Quetta Balochistan following the successful consultations held in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan.
The consultation was organized by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training in collaboration with the Secondary Education Department Government of Balochsitan, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP to sensitize and enhance knowledge of the education stakeholders of Balochistan.
Over 150 officials and representatives of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Provincial Education and its Line Departments, development partners’, civil society organizations and media participated in the consultation who deliberated upon the SDG-4 and its integration with the Balochsitan education sector plan.
Mr. Abdul Saboor Kakar, Secretary, Secondary Education Department, Government of Balochistan in his welcome remarks applauded the federal government role in leading the provincial/ areas consultations for creating awareness about SGD-4. He said that the Balochsitan education sector plan includes most of the SDG-4 indicators and focuses on quality education. He mentioned that the department is planning to organize SDG-4 related consultations at the districts and school level in the near future.
Addressing the participants, Ms. Ellen Van Kalmthout, Chief of Education UNICEF Pakistan highlighted that SDG-4 agenda is a major step forward to reflect the world determination to ensure that all children, young people and adults gain the knowledge and skills they need to live in dignity, to fulfil their potential and contribute to their societies as responsible global citizens.
Muhammad Humayun, Secretary, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training highlighted that the federal government is taking a number of initiatives for promotion of education such as institutionalization of the Inter-Provincial Ministerial Conference (IPMC) and the National Curriculum Council (NCC). He mentioned that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has recently signed under which the Federal Government will send 1000 Pakistani students to different universities in the United States for higher education. He said that quality education and lifelong learning opportunities is the focus of new education agenda which requires all stakeholders including education departments, teachers and parents to play a positive role for its successful implementation.
Mr. Abdul Rahim Ziarat Wal, Education Minister, Government of Balochsitan in his key note address highlighted that under the Education Sector Plan (2013-18), the Provincial Government had undertaken a number of policy interventions such as increase in the education budget from 3-4 % to 25 %, enrolment of 350,000 students at primary level in the winter zone of Balochistan, merit based teachers recruitment, actions against non-performing teachers, and fulfilling education needs of 40, 000 marginalized and refugee children to improve the overall status of education in the province. He shared that considering the enormous need of the province in education, the provincial government requires technical and financial support of the international community. The Minister assured his full commitment and support to the new education agenda for its implementation in Balochsitan province.
Speaking at the concluding session, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, UNESCO Representative to Pakistan appreciated the participants for articulating concrete recommendations for integration of SDG-4 targets and indicators into the education sector plan, which is mostly in line with the new education agenda. She said that the SDG-4 reminds us our collective responsibility to ensure education caters to the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized children and youth, especially refugees, internally displaced children, stateless children and children whose right to education has been compromised by conflict and insecurity. These children are the keys to a secure and sustainable future, and their education is significantly important for all of us.
Addressing the audience, Muhammad Rafique Tahir, Joint Educational Advisor, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training appreciated the active participation of stakeholders in the SDG-4 consultation. He added that with completion of the SDG-4 consultation in Balochsitan the first phase of the SDG-4 consultations has been completed. Key recommendations of all provincial and area consultations will be validated in a national consultative meeting in Islamabad after Ramadhan, which will lead to the formulation of an integrated SDG-4 strategy document for Pakistan.
Ms. Raheela Durrani, Speaker, Balochistan Assembly, who was the chief guest, extended full support and commitment for implementation of the new education agenda. She highlighted the need for concrete follow-up actions to transform this agenda from a policy perspective to actual implementation on ground and offered support of the provincial assembly for required legislation. She also stressed on to decide on the language for imparting education according to the local context and dialects of the province.
Ms. Yasmeen Lehri, Member Provincial Assembly Balochsitan also expressed her views in relation to the new education agenda. Ms. Ilaria Martinattoo, Provincial Head of World Food Programme, Balochistan delivered a statement on behalf of the development partners to support the implementation of SDG-4 in Balochsitan.
The two day provincial consultation was focused on interactive presentations and discussions which highlighted the implications, opportunities and challenges of the new education agenda followed by group work for in-depth analysis of the SDG-4 targets and indicators and concrete recommendations for alignment of SDG-4 with the education sector plan of Balochsitan province.