International Literacy Day Shafqat urges use of technology for marginalized students’ access to education


Zubair Qureshi

Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has emphasized use of modern technology, particularly mobile phones to deliver education at scale to the most marginalized children in Pakistan.
He underscored this point at an event marking International Literacy Day at a local hotel here Thursday. Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) had organized the event to celebrate the day.
The day is celebrated worldwide to underscore the universal right to education for all, as mandated by the United Nations on 26 October 1966.
Shafqat Mahmood in his the keynote address conveyed the government’s vision for improving education outcomes. He said it was the prime responsibility of the government to enroll all those out-of-school children who for some reasons or others have not the opportunity of learning.
The event was attended by a large number of education practitioners, policy makers, teachers, students, and academia to discuss improving learning approaches in Pakistan, with a focus on finding locally led solutions for the most marginalized students by generating political will, inclusionary approaches, and high-quality teacher facilitation and support. The plenary discussion highlighted key opportunities and bottlenecks in Pakistan’s state and non-state education systems, including the quality of teaching, standards, access, and inclusion, especially with regard to the most marginalized children.
The panel of experts included Saima Anwer, Education Advisor, U.K. Department for International Development; Ms. Umbreen Arif, educationist; Ms. Khadija Shahper Bakhtiar, CEO and Founder of Teach for Pakistan; Ms. Aban Haq, Head of the Innovation Fund at Karandaaz Pakistan; the Hon. Murad Raas, Minister for School Education, Government of Punjab; Ms. Mehnaz Akber Aziz, MNA; Ms. Sarah Sheikh, Executive Director of the Family Educational Services Foundation; and Ms. Soufia Siddiqi, a technical consultant with the Government of Punjab.