ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Education and Professional Training Engr. Baligh Ur Rehman lauded the support of Germany in promoting quality education in Pakistan during past two and half decades.
He was addressing the National Conference on Quality Education and Training for Socio-Economic Development of Pakistan as a Chief Guest here Wednesday.
The government of Pakistan, he said, is committed to impart quality education to the future generations so they are able to contribute for the betterment of Pakistan and the world.
He said with current government’s efforts, the literacy rate has been increased from 58% to 60%, while attainment of primary education has increased from 68% to 72%.
Minister said the development of basic skills and competencies forms the basis of all future learning. Research findings indicate that effective learning takes place in schools that provide quality education.
Improving access to schooling alone does not indicate that learning is taking place and that students are being equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, the minister said. Increased enrollment, therefore, may be a temporary phenomenon in the absence of quality inputs through which high learning outcomes are achieved.
“Though we all believe that education is one of the most vital investments for the future human development and a key requirement for the progress of our society, imparting quality education continues to remain a long standing challenge,” stated the State Minister.
The development of the society and the economy require education that is relevant to its potential growth path. In addition, emerging societal concerns such as social cohesion, disaster preparedness, and environmental management constitute imperatives that qualitatively strengthen education content.
The Minister stressed that realizing this challenge, the founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had advised the nation to bring its educational policy and programs in line with global trends.
The delivery of quality education starts with evidence based planning of the education and entails of curriculum appropriateness, availability of high quality textbooks and supplementary reading materials, teachers’ ability to deliver in the classroom and effective assessment methods, he said.
The minister said, the education departments in all provinces and areas have been making concerted efforts towards improvements in these elements.
Much of these efforts will constitute the deliberations, but I must highlight that change is a long drawn process, one that entails patience and consistent efforts in line with the vision enshrined in common national aspirations, said the Minister.
Both the National Education Policy (2009) and the Curriculum (2006) envision a qualitatively reformed education system geared towards improvements in the lives of people living in a progressive society with improving economic indicators.
GIZ’s capacity building approach to development cooperation has made significant contributions to systemic improvements in education service delivery that we must sustain and build upon after the exit of GIZ from support to basic education in Pakistan in December 2015.
After the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment, apprehensions regarding the critical aspects of national cohesion and harmonized development of the education sector. The absence of commonly agreed minimum national standards for quality education was being recognized as a key concern in this regard.
In the end, Minister of state said “I appreciate the participatory approach to technical cooperation which enables the institutionalization of systemic changes and mechanisms for improving education delivery.”
Our common focus on increasing access to quality education through holistic reforms is paving the path to improved human capital for sustainable development of the society.
The conference featured panel discussions on education reform for human development and education as a prerequisite for skills development and economic growth.
Speakers underlined the importance of quality education and training and termed it essential for producing a workforce, able to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Pakistan.
Quality education enables children to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to reach to their full potential and contribute to national economic growth, they said.
Speaking on the occasion, Thomas Silberhorn highlighted the cooperation between Pakistan and Germany. “The cooperation between Pakistan and Germany in the area of education goes back into 1972.
It has been giving major emphasis on improving the quality of education in Pakistan.”
“Although the basic education program is phasing out in December 2015 after completing almost 25 years, Germany will continue to support Pakistan in its endeavors to give equal chances to every child. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) will be a key focus area for the German Development Cooperation in years to come,” Silberhorn said.
The conference was supported by the National Basic Education Program, which is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Representatives of provincial education departments, federal ministries, educationists, experts and thought leaders from different walks of life attended the conference. The German Deputy Development Minister Thomas Silberhorn inaugurated the conference.