ISLAMABAD: World Bank (WB) Country Director (CD) Patchamuthu Illangovan called on Federal Minister for Education and Technical Training Shafqat Mahmood, here on Monday. The meeting was also attended by Federal Secretary Education, Arshad Mirza.

The minister welcomed the country director, World Bank and his delegation and said that Pakistan is currently facing various challenges in Education sector and that the government is fully committed to resolving these challenges. “We would very much appreciate the support of World Bank in this regard,” added the minister.

Shafqat Mahmood said that among the various challenges are the out of school children, different streams or systems of education that are private schools, government schools and then religious schools or Madrassah. There is also the challenge of providing Quality Education and removing discrimination in education system and last but not the least is a challenge of skill development. “We are working on making a comprehensive education policy that will address these challenges, will ensure quality education and will provide level playing field and equal opportunities to everyone,” added the minister.

“We will also introduce special programme for street children and introducing one standard curriculum for entire country that have core compulsory subjects taught throughout the country is also on our agenda,” added Shafqat Mahmood.

The education minister said, “We may also replicate some of the reforms that were introduced in the Education sector in KPK and had positive results.

He further said that although most powers and functions of Education Ministry after 18th amendment have devolved to provinces but still the Federal Education Ministry will try to take a lead role in introducing positive changes. The minister informed the CD World Bank that the Federal Education Ministry will also be reorganized in such a way that will be reflective of our priorities in education sector.

He further said that our main focus will also be on the skill development and human development. Vocational and Technical training is a must, adding, “we are in the process of setting up skill universities and we are in close liaison with all the chambers of commerce and other stakeholders in this regard”.

The minister also suggested that the World Bank should provide support to Pakistan on skill development in Pakistan.

THE Country Director World Bank, Patchamuthu Illangovan congratulated the Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training on his appointment.

He appreciated the steps the Government of Pakistan intends to take for promotion of education and offered World Bank help and support in this regard and said that they are looking forward to work closely with the government of Pakistan for the progress and prosperity of the People of Pakistan and for promotion of education in Pakistan.

He pointed out that the number of out of school children in Pakistan is a big problem and World Bank will support any effort to bring these children to schools.

“Our second aim is that Pakistan should develop the National Standards on education,” he added. Regarding the skill development the country director World Bank said, “We are carrying out the study which will determine the gap between the current education and skills and the future nature of jobs, which will be immensely beneficial for Pakistan too as they can work on providing trainings in those skills that can match the future requirements of the jobs.”

Both the Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood and World Bank Country Director agreed on keeping regular contact & coordination for addressing the challenges in education sector in Pakistan.—PR