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Civil society, lawmakers extend support to Education Parliamentary Caucus

Pakistan Observer - 26-1-2022

Some 20 parliamentarians from all provinces and political parties of Pakistan and civil society organizations have extended support to the newly formed Education Parliamentary Caucus.

The EPC has been formed to address key bottlenecks in the current education system of the country as well as table suggestions for improvements to decision makers. The key focus of the efforts w

ould be to make sure that education policies and plans can bridge the implementation gaps and effectively cater to the diverse real needs of children, adolescents and adults for quality education in Pakistan.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani has endorsed the initiative and extended his support to ensure quality education for all the children in Pakistan as enshrined in Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali also joined the virtual launch of EPC. Addressing the meeting, he said that it was the responsibility of parliamentarians to take this initiative; we should have done it long ago. “The only way forward for Pakistan is education and skilled education for girls and boys,” he added.

Other parliamentarians represented in the EPC include Wajiha Qammar, Parliamentary Secretary, Federal Education and Professional Training; Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary, Federal Ministry of National Health Services and MPAs from Punjab Aisha Nawaz Chaudhary, Tahir Khalil Sandhu and Abbas Ali Shah; MPAs from Sindh Tanzeela Qambarani, Syeda Marvi Rashdi; MPAs from Balochistan Bushra Rind, Ahmed Umar Khan Kalat, Senator Sana Jamali; and MPA Shagufta Malik from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Speaking about the EPC, MPA Chaudhary said, “Education is above all of us, it is the right of our children and duty of the state. The EPC is a great across party across province initiative, and engaging stakeholders from all across is very important.”

Lawmakers from Balochistan have especially stepped forward to contribute in the EPC. Senator Sana Jamali congratulated civil society and parliamentarians for taking the much needed initiative to form a parliamentary caucus for education. She ensured that Balochistan Assembly will extend maximum support to the cause.

A letter has also been written to the decision makers to take evidence-based urgent actions for education in Pakistan. Addressing the president, prime minister, parliamentarians, ministers and secretaries of education and literacy in Pakistan, the letter requested support for EPC and also put forth six recommendations for making transformative decisions impacting millions of children, youth and teachers.

Sharing the evidence from recently launched ASER Pakistan Learning Losses report, the letter stated that that lower primary or grade 3 children need urgent attention, as do other grades. There is an urgency to reorganize school timetables-pedagogy and focus on engaging remedial learning without stigma and light touch assessments to gauge the learning level of the child.

Girls’ education and learning has to be a priority with support in schools. The need for second chance programs with Life skills and EdTech skills urgently was highlighted, backed by resources and with better linkages with Waseela-e-Taleem/BISP for girls at risk or OOS.