EC signs agreement with UNICEF to fund the education recovery programme
Islamabad, August 17, 2006: European Commission grants Rs.750 million (EUR 10 million) to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for funding its ongoing education sector recovery process in support of the Government’s Early Recovery Plan for reconstruction and rehabilitation in the earthquake affected areas.
In this regard, an agreement was signed, here today, by Mr. Balthasar Benz, Charge-d-Affairs of the delegation of the European Commission and Mr. Thomas C. McDermott, UNICEF Representative in the presence of Mr. Khalid Saeed, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Government of Pakistan.
Under the agreement, the European Commission will contribute € 10 million to the ongoing education recovery programme which has an overall budget of €46.6 million. The governments of Australia, Canada and the Netherlands have also contributed to the programme.
The objective of the programme, as part of the Government’s ‘Build Back Better’ campaign is to ensure early resumption of basic education services to communities in the affected areas.
Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Representative, Mr. McDermott said, “Children throughout the country this week are starting school. In the earthquake affected areas they will be starting for the second time this winter.
“Under this programme, as many as 125 pucca schools will be constructed in the first phase of the programme which will be ready by this time next year. Altogether, UNICEF will construct 500 rural primary schools in the earthquake region, 250 in AJK and 250 in NWFP.”
The EC Head of Operations, Mr. Michael Dale said, “European Commission has received a very positive response of working with our key partners. We hope to continue our cooperation with UNICEF in the education sector in Pakistan. The programme will also focus on other components such as teacher training, residence facility for female teachers and child friendly spaces.”
The programme also aims to ensure provision of safe drinking water and latrines, specially for girls, setting in place improved systems for education planning, management and administration with improved physical standards for safe and earthquake resistant school buildings with most appropriate designs that can be improved upon. UNICEF is also working in other areas such as teacher training, residence facility for female teachers and child friendly spaces.
The programme is designed to deliver greater community-driven and coordinated education services within a comprehensive and integrated approach for healthy, protective and good quality primary and middle school education for all children.
Under this programme most of the primary school age children whose education process was disrupted by the earthquake (approximately 449,138) have returned to school. In addition, UNICEF is also aiming to enrol at least 30 percent of the children in the affected areas who have never been to school before including marginalized groups (girls, disabled children, internally displaced persons and the ultra poor).