PM calls for UNESCO’s increased role in education in flood hit areas

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has called for UNESCO’s increased role in establishing non-formal education centers in the flood affected areas of Pakistan.

He was talking to Ms. Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO who called on him at Prime Minister House Tuesday afternoon.

He said UNESCO can help in providing training to teachers in the flood relief camps in various disciplines so that around six million children who have missed their classes could resume schooling in the new academic year.

The Prime Minister emphasized that UNESCO should extend assistance to Pakistan in the post disaster phase by undertaking small and medium level projects in education, water management and preservation of world heritage sites.

The Prime Minister noted that UN Secretary General in his appeal for flood affected people of Pakistan last month has not included education, science, and cultural fields which are the purview of UNESCO.

He said, his government would like UNESCO to issue a similar appeal which was made in the case of Haiti earthquake last year for mobilizing assistance to Pakistan in these important sectors.

The Prime Minister appreciated the initiative taken by the Director General of UNESCO to send a team of scientists to Pakistan last week to assess the damage caused by floods in the areas falling within the purview of his organization to help Pakistan in water resource management including managing hydro hazards, maintaining ground water resources, preventing land slides and capacity building of institutions.

The Prime Minister said that his government’s strategy was three pronged, in the first instance to rescue and provide relief to the flood victims which were already underway, secondly rehabilitation of the displaced persons in the floods by helping them rebuild their houses and thirdly help affected farmers to resume agriculture activity as well as to reconstruct the physical infrastructure including schools and colleges damaged by the flood waters.

The Prime Minister apprised the Director General that around 11000 schools have been destroyed or damaged and other schools and colleges are being used as temporary shelters for the displaced people.

The new school year has started and government will like to relocate the flood victims occupying the schools and rebuild the damaged schools to ensure that education of the children was not affected, he added.

He hoped that UNESCO would help Pakistan in every possible manner to achieve this goal.