British High Commissioner Discusses Education Challenges and Collaboration with Pakistani Minister

Thu Apr 18 2024
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ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms. Jane Marriott, met with Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, on Thursday to address the critical challenges and opportunities in Pakistan’s education sector.

The meeting, also attended by Secretary of Education Mr. Mohyuddin Wani and British Council Country Director Mr. James Hampson, focused on the Ministry of Education’s initiative to declare an education emergency in Pakistan. Minister Siddiqui emphasized the urgent need to tackle the growing number of out-of-school children, particularly in urban slums, which have been historically neglected in education policies.

Minister Siddiqui urged for national cooperation and donor support to ensure no child is left behind, emphasizing the need for a unified platform to channel educational efforts effectively.

Ms. Marriott acknowledged the longstanding partnership between the UK and Pakistan since 1947. She highlighted the UK’s support for expanding green programs to boost enrollment of Pakistani students in UK universities through distance learning. Additionally, she mentioned Google Education’s interest in aiding Pakistan’s education access.

Discussions also revolved around the challenges and opportunities presented by the devolution of education to provinces. Secretary Wani stressed the importance of aligning stakeholders to address educational issues cohesively, highlighting the fragmentation among donors and NGOs.

Minister Siddiqui outlined ambitious goals, including training one million youth in the IT sector to position Pakistan as a significant global IT supplier. He sought UK support in securing globally recognized IT certifications for these professionals.

Moreover, the minister emphasized the need for mental health support in educational institutions, with plans to establish mental health awareness desks in Islamabad colleges.

The meeting concluded with James Hampson of the British Council proposing a visit by the Global Chief Executive in May to enhance educational collaboration, particularly targeting educational outreach in metropolitan slums.

Minister Siddiqui welcomed this initiative, expressing keen interest in strengthening British Council collaboration to expand educational programs, especially in marginalized urban areas.



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