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Pakistan Girls Education Initiative launched with enthusiasm

© UNICEF Pakistan/2010
Honorable Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza, guest of honor, said that the initiative was a welcome step towards creating an enabling education environment for both girls and boys.

Islamabad, 9 December, 2010--United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan, National Commission of Pakistan (NCHD) and Department of International Development (DFID) launched Pakistan Girls Education Initiative (PGEI) – UNIGEI amidst great enthusiasm at Pakistan National Council for Arts (PNCA). Honorable Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza was the chief guest at the occasion.
PGEI launch will strengthen the atmosphere for major stakeholders in the education sector to network, share experiences and learn about gender concerns. To address the gender issues in education, it will also offer the highest policy level commitment by the Government of Pakistan along with reviewing current status of gender, sharing best practices from the region and facilitating in the creation of sustainable linkages between the national, regional and international research institutions.

Addressing the gathering, Ms. Fehmida Mirza said that PGEI was a welcome step towards creating effective alliances of committed partners at the international, federal and provincial levels, in order to create enabling educational environment, where girls, as well as boys, can flourish and unleash their untapped potential. She said that the world development models have shown that by educating their women, nations have succeeded in minimizing the maternal and infant mortality risks, improved the community health structures, created employments, enhanced economic returns and transformed human settlements into peaceful, self-respecting and progressive societies.

The speaker said, “The democratic leadership has taken some vital strategic steps. The foremost among them has been the inclusion of Article 25-A in the constitution through the 18th amendment, which now guarantees the right of free and compulsory education to every child-both girls as well as boys- of the age of five to six years.”

Talking at the launching ceremony Head of UNGEI Secretariat Ms. Cheryl Faye said that PGEI was an outcome of the effective participation of the Pakistan delegation in United Nations Girls Education Initiative’s 10th anniversary conference, “Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality,” held in May 2010 in Dakar, Senegal, and its dynamic membership in the drafting committee of the Dakar Declaration on Accelerating Girls’ Education and Gender Equality, the first global declaration on girls’ education. She further added, “Through the PGEI network – with its enhanced capability for information sharing, building partnerships among key stakeholders, policy advocacy and assistance to the government of Pakistan in its response to emergencies – our hope is that each child in Pakistan, girl and boy alike, will complete high quality education”.

The Director General, Federal Directorate of Education Mr. Aurangzeb Khan said that “our National Education Policy 2009 has tried to overcome the shortcomings of previous policies by increasing the spending on education and continued supporting public-private partnership models like National Commission for Human Development (NCHD)”.

The Director General NCHD Mr. Zulfiqar Ahmad in his address said that the Government of Pakistan has endorsed global mandate on gender equity for advancing the concept of “gender mainstreaming”, which promotes integration of gender sensitive policy strategies into national development policies and programs at all levels. NCHD has adopted a two-pronged strategy to enhance literacy-rate in Pakistan, through support of provinces and districts in Universal Primary Education and Adult literacy programs. This effort of NCHD will help evidence-based planning and implementation for enhancement of girls’ education in Pakistan.

Addressing the gathering, the chairperson NCHD Ms. Nafisa Shah MNA said that “we need to guarantee equal rights and civil rights and say that, here in Pakistan, workers have the right to organize - women have the right to choose - and justice belongs to everyone regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation. Here, equal education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."



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