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Minister accepts govt failure to achieve MDGs

Minister accepts govt failure to achieve MDGs

ISLAMABAD: Accepting the failure of the government to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman on Tuesday said Pakistan was fully determined to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He, however, linked the success with significant and well-targeted increase in financing.

“It is clear that aspirations encompassed in the proposed SDG-4 cannot be realised without a significant increase in financing, particularly in those countries furthest from achieving quality education for all at all levels,” the minister said, adding that the government was determined to increase public spending on education in the near future.

Speaking at the first national consultation workshop on Sustainable Development Goal-4, the Education 2030, Mr Rehman said due to various reasons, including the lack of continuity of policies and changes in governments, Pakistan could not achieve the MDGs.

“Realising the importance of SDGs, we had adopted these goals as national development goals, while education funding has already been increased to a significant level which will be further increased,” he said.

Pakistan is the second country after Nigeria which has millions of out-of-school children. But it has no exact figure as there are conflicting numbers of such children starting from six million to 25 million.

The consultative workshop was jointly organised by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Unesco and Unicef to develop a common understanding on SDG-4 and devising a roadmap and effective strategies for the attainment of quality education and goals set for 2030.

Speakers on the occasion discussed the Framework for Action (FFA) Education 2030 adopted in November 2015 by the Unesco member states aimed at supporting all countries to realise their visions and ambitions for education within the framework of the global SDG-4 and its targets.

“We have started working to achieve the SDGs. All provinces are moving forward to draw the framework. In March next year, we will organise a conference to announce the national strategy,” Joint Education Adviser Rafiq Tahir told Dawn.

Earlier, Cris Munduade, Deputy Representative Unicef, said new SDG goals stated a clear commitment to quality, inclusiveness and lifelong learning with a focus on childhood education.

“The journey of education is exciting and challenging, children cannot wait and the right to education must be seen as a basic human right. Unicef is committed to supporting the country led policies, actions and priorities for education to meet the 2030 new targets,” she added.

Vibeke Jensen, the Unesco representative to Pakistan, highlighted the whole consultative process of developing SDGs based on learning and lesson learnt from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) goals.

She explained the SDG-4 goals and targets with an expectation from the countries to localise, contextualise and devise an implementation strategy to its attainment.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2015

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