Education Sector Plans for Sindh and Balochistan Endorsed to Seek $100 Million from Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
Islamabad, 4 March 2014 – Education Sector Plans for Sindh and Balochistan were endorsed by the representatives of ten development organisations and agencies, here today at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as a prerequisite to seek USD 100 million from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help Pakistan achieve education-related Millennium Development Goals.
The Education Minister Baluchistan, Sardar Raza Muhammad Barrech, Secretary Education Balochistan Ghulam Ali Baluch and the Additional Chief Secretary Sindh Fazlullah Pechuho witnessed the signing ceremony. The representatives of the European Union, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Canadian High Commission in Pakistan, Australian Government’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), German Aid Agency (GIZ), United Kingdom’s Department for International Aid (DFID) World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF signed the endorsement document.
The GPE had indicated a grant of USD 100 million for programme implementation of the Education Sector Plans in Sindh and Baluchistan. Of this, Sindh will receive USD 66 million and Balochistan will get USD 34 million. The World Bank is the supervising entity for both Sindh and Balochistan, whereas the European Union and UNICEF are the coordinating entities for Sindh and Baluchistan, respectively.
“Today is a historic day for the government and people of Balochistan as along with our partners we have arrived at the same page and tied ourselves to a common objective to transform Balochistan into an educated and progressive province of Pakistan within a short period of five years,” said Sardar Raza Muhammad, Education Minister Baluchistan. “Our education system direly needed a strategic direction coupled with an effective implementation plan. This Education Sector Plan will provide that and we are immensely grateful to all our partners as it has been possible only with your support.”
The Government of Balochistan aims to utilize the GPE grant for up-grading 800 primary schools to middle schools and 100 middle schools to higher secondary schools which will help increase enrolment and reduce dropout rates.
The Additional Chief Secretary Sindh, Fazalullah Pechuho said, “We identified the need for a new Education Sector Plan for Sindh in 2012. As a result of a consultative and comprehensive process which followed during the next two years, we have managed to formulate this plan, with support of the development partners including GPE. We are thankful to all those who are present here for endorsing this document.”
With the help of the GPE grant, the Government of Sindh aims to increase the Net Enrolment Rate (NER) for 2014-2018 for Katchi from 32 to 45 per cent; for Primary from 59 to 77 per cent; for Middle from 32 to 50 per cent; for Secondary from 23 to 35 per cent and for Higher Secondary from 19 to 30 per cent.
"The EU welcomes the adoption of the Education Sector Plans, which we have contributed to. These plans will form the basis for free and compulsory education for all as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan,” said the European Union Ambassador, Lars Gunnar Wigemark. “Establishing a roadmap for education in the respective provinces, the Education Sector Plans include clear accountability mechanisms for their implementation. The EU and other development partners will be providing support to the respective education departments to ensure the implementation of the Education Sector Plans".
Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Dan Rohrmann said, “The development partners’ endorsement of the two provincial Education Sector Plans marks a milestone in the Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework. This is also a significant leap forward in the context of the National Plan of Action which the Prime Minister of Pakistan presented in the UN General Assembly Education Ministerial Meeting last year. In addition to that Pakistan has selected the enrolment rate as an indicator for the MDG Acceleration Framework. Since 2015 is the year for achieving the MDGs and Education for All, it is critical that we accelerate efforts for education in the country.”
The Education Sector Plans have been developed through a participatory and transparent process and provide an impetus for free and compulsory education as guaranteed by Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan. These will establish a roadmap for education in the respective provinces, with clear accountability mechanisms for implementing various components of the programme. The development partners will be providing technical support to the respective education departments in effective implementation of the plans.