“Pakistan no longer has the luxury to focus on bringing the colossal pre-pandemic figure of 22.8 million out-of-school children into schools but must now actively strategize to prevent a roll-back on important gains made vis-à-vis education, especially girls’ access to education in the last decade. Inaction can result in millions of more Pakistani children dropping-out of schools.”
These views were expressed by Areebah Shahid, Executive Director Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) at the launch of the #InvestInEducationStrengthenPakistan campaign.
Education activists, influencers and media personalities from around the country gathered for this virtual event.
The virtual consultation was aimed at garnering the support of key influencers from all walks of life to ensure that education and the future of over 80 million Pakistani children does not take a backseat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key findings and recommendations of the recently released white paper by PYCA, “Public Investment in Education – COVID-19 & Other Past Emergencies,” were also shared with the participants.
The white paper is authored by Asim Bashir Khan, an economist and Public Financial Management expert.
Asim Bashir Khan while providing an overview of the key findings of the white paper stated, “Cuts in education budgets and more specifically within the education development expenditure are a routine practice and have little to do with the fall-out of emergency situations such as the on-going pandemic.”
There is however, little justification for this especially after the government itself claimed the feat of a V-shaped recovery.
By doing so, the government has also effectively acknowledged that the tide of anticipated financial losses has been reversed.
An early and sustained path to economic recovery coupled with international monetary support in turn means that the state does, in fact, have the fiscal space to prioritize development spending on education and other social sector subjects.