Govt giving special attention to promotion of education: Baligh

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Faculty of Education at FJWU

Staff Reporter

Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Engr. Baligh ur Rehman along with Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director John Groarke Tuesday inaugurated the new $1.5 million Faculty of Education building at Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU).
The building has been constructed by USAID to attract best and bright young Pakistani women in the teaching profession.
Engr. Baligh ur Rehman addressing the participants said, the government was giving special attention towards improvement of education and focus was also being given on quality education and research.
He said, the annual budget of the HEC was Rs 41 billion in 2013 which had been increased by the PML-N government to Rs 91 billion.
Now, the government was considering to allocate more than Rs 100 billion in the upcoming federal budget, he added.
The Minister said, over the past three years, the percentage of out of school children had declined by 26 percent coupled with an increase in primary net enrollment by 17 percent.
The direction had been set but there was still a long way to go, he said adding access to education, recruitment of teachers and availability of facilities in schools were priority of the government.
He said, Pakistan and UK, US, French and Chinese universities were collaborating in the field of education, research and benefiting from each others capabilities.
Baligh ur Rehman said, though challenges exist in education sector yet improvements at phenomenal rates had been seen during the present government wherein infrastructural facilities and enrollments had greatly improved.
He said that education ministry was undertaking curriculum review to match international standards and steps had also been taken to raise the standard of research in the country.
The Minister said, the government had decided to abolish two-year BA programme, replacing it with four-year programme to be introduced in all universities of the country. The largest two-year BA programme of Allama Iqbal Open University had also been changed with four-year programme, he added.
He said, first time in the country’s history, education standards and teaching standards were set under which the four-year BA programme had been finalized.
The government is also working on uniform primary curriculum and the task will be completed before June this year and introduced from class 1 to 5.
It would be implemented in federal capital and all the provinces, he said.
The minister emphasized the need for collaboration, usage of technology and focus on emerging technologies as it was instrumental for meeting the contemporary challenges.
USAID Mission Director, John Groarke on the occasion said, the agency’s shared goal was to invest in the next generation of doctors, teachers entrepreneurs who were the leaders of next generation.
He said, women were a proven development multiplier and their full participation in all levels of society helped build resilient communities.
He informed that in addition to the new Faculty of Education building, USAID had provided scholarships to FJWU students, including teacher training.
The U.S. Embassy partners with FJWU on numerous projects that promote women education and empowerment.
He said, through USAID, the U.S. government had provided $47.5 million for the construction and rehabilitation of 17 Faculty of Education buildings across Pakistan, which together could support more than 5,000 student teachers and 200 faculty members total per year.
USAID has also provided in-service training to almost 14,000 educators and more than 3,100 scholarships to enable students to earn their bachelors or associates degrees in education.