EU envoy terms quality education key to Pakistan’s inclusive growth

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10th Jul, 2021. 07:21 pm
EU envoy terms quality education key to Pakistan’s inclusive growth

ISLAMABAD: EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara on Saturday said the European Union continued to support Pakistan in its efforts to strengthen education and good governance for pursuing a path of inclusive growth and development in the country.

To materialise the concept of good governance and strengthening the education system here, particularly in the far-flung areas of Balochistan and other provinces, the EU would fund to the Balochistan Education Support (BES) II, a five-year education development programme, amounting to 7.4 million euros (Rs3.27 billion).

Talking to APP, Kaminara said, “An educated young generation is more imperative for Pakistan to pursue a path of inclusive growth and development.”

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Terming the education as a basic human right and key to ensuring that people do not fall behind in society and in life, she said: “The EU is committed to ensuring access to quality education for all boys and girls in Balochistan, which will enable them to follow their dreams and contribute to a better future for Pakistan.”

To a question about the coronavirus and its worst impacts on the education system, the envoy said the pandemic had shaken the world economy and leaving the people in a difficult situation; however, the main focus of the EU is to address Covid-19 challenges and taking steps to reduce its significant impacts on education and others sectors.

Kaminara said: “The EU will continue to work closely with its partners, including the government of Balochistan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support and strengthen Pakistan’s education system.”

To another query, she said: “The EU’s support on primary and secondary education is a priority area under the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan, which serves as a guide for bilateral relations between the two sides, and aims at further enhancing the engagement and work towards addressing the emerging global challenges.”

She said substantial progress was being made under the Balochistan Basic Education Programme (BBEP) as the European Union and UNICEF have formally signed an agreement to launch the Balochistan Education Support (BES) II.

“The overall cost of this project is 22.2 million euros and UNICEF co-financing is 4.8 million euros (Rs0.92 billion). The new programme aims at contributing to supporting the government of Balochistan to build high-quality performance and management education systems in the province.”

She said the project would contribute to the overall objective of improving literacy, numeracy, skills and qualifications for the people in the province. It will do so through improving the access to quality primary and middle-level education and by increasing accountability, reporting and transparency of the secondary education department.

UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Aida Girma, in a statement said, “The setback to educational activities due to the Covid-19 must not deter us from trying to provide a better and brighter future for the children and young people of Balochistan.”

She expressed the hope that under the leadership and vision of the Education Department, supported by the generous funding from the EU and encouraged by the resilience and determination of the people, UNICEF would endeavour to translate children’s right to education into outcomes.

She said: “The BES-II will go a long way to help achieve the long-term targets set in the Balochistan Basic Education Programme and the new initiatives reflected in the programme.”

Girma said: “To make up for the academic time lost due to the Covid-19, additional activities have been included in BES-II. These include training of teachers on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for school health and safety, tailoring enrollment drives to ensure that children return to education and providing alternatives for children who drop out due to the economic impact of the crises.”

She said the EU provided Pakistan around 100 million euros annually in grants in its efforts to tackle poverty, increase education, promote good governance, human rights, rule of law and ensure sustainable management of natural resources. The EU-funded projects cover all of Pakistan with a special focus on Sindh and Balochistan.

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