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Pakistan: Newsline

World Vision Pakistan leads the way to new education policy

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©John Schenk / World Vision
In northern Pakistan some 8,000 schools were destroyed or severly damaged. World Vision Child Friendly Spaces are safe havens where children can play, express feelings and regain a sense of routine and normality.

By Moussadiq Ali

PAKISTAN, 23 January 2007 - In the first national round table on education policy, organised by World Vision, 12 local and international NGOs recommended that Pakistani education improve instruction opportunities for girls if it is to respond to the nation’s changing needs.

The NGOs’ input will be submitted by World Vision Pakistan education specialists to the national government, to be included in the final draft of the new National Education Policy.

“This white paper is a critical step towards a modern legal framework,” said Technical Manager Abdul Rab.

“Our recommendations bring attention to the education needs in remote areas of the country. Consultations held in big cities cannot address our specific problems.”

In the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which was hit hard by the October 2005 earthquake, one of the major concerns is related to emergency education.

“For the first time, the round-table discussions took this topic into consideration. It is important to envision scenarios that would allow children to continue their instruction, even if another disaster hits,” explained Abdul Rab.

Participants emphasised the need for special training for staff and adolescent on emergency preparedness, alongside the introduction of disaster management exercises in the curricula.

Another recommendation of the NGOs panel targets the introduction of early childhood education. In the absence of public preschool facilities, less than five per cent of the NWFP population can currently afford to send their children to private preschool institutions.

“We also recognise the importance of building teachers’ capacity,” emphasised Rab.

“The new education policy should introduce a child-friendly approach and teaching techniques, and provision of psycho-social support by the teachers.”
 
The NGOs recommended the increase of overall allocation for education sector from four percent of the gross national product to six percent.

Representatives of Pakistani government, present at the round table, appreciated stakeholders’ input from quake-affected areas.

“The inclusion of NGOs’ recommendations in the final draft of the education policy will be a great achievement,” said Nasim Ejaz Khattak, General Manager of the National Commission for Human Development.


 

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