QUETTA: The Government of Japan will finance the establishment of 160 centres under the Alternate Learning Pathway (ALP) model, to provide quality alternate education for over 8,000 children and adolescents in Balochistan. These centres will be established by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), under the leadership of the Department of Secondary Education, Government of Balochistan.
The ALP centres will provide a second chance to Out-of-School Children (OOSC) between the ages of adolescents’ children between 9 to 16 years to acquire quality learning and be mainstream into the regular education system.
The Government of Japan’s support to alternative education in Balochistan is part of the recently signed agreement with UNICEF whereby 3.5 million dollars have been granted for establishing 400 ALP centres across three provinces of Pakistan including Balochistan. In all, over 15,000 children and adolescents will benefit from these centres.
Speaking at the ceremony Mr. Noorul Haq Baloch- Secretary Secondary Education said; “In Balochistan, around 1 million children are out of school and to provide access and quality education is a big challenge for the Department of Secondary Education, Government of Balochistan. Department of Secondary Education really appreciates the efforts of UNICEF and JICA for providing second chance of education to the children who have either missed out or dropped out; to catch up and complete their basic education. GoB is also aiming to mainstream the ALP initiative and allocate budget particularly for ALP to provide access to OOSC children. We look forward to this collaboration which will not only strengthen the formal education system but also contribute towards the social and economic development of the country”.
On the occasion Abid Gill, Deputy Chief Advisor JICA-AQAL, said: “JICA has been consistently prioritizing Non-Formal Education (NFE) in its ongoing technical assistance to Pakistan since 2004. JICA is implementing Advance Quality Alternative Learning (AQAL) project that aims to strengthen Non- Formal Education delivery systems in Balochistan and Sindh. Now, JICA is further strengthening its commitment to NFE in collaboration with UNICEF to ensure the right to education to out of school children and adolescents. At the same time, JICA expects the Government of Balochistan to come forward and expand Non-Formal Education as a strategy to ensure right to education to OOSC under article 25A”.
While expressing gratitude to the Government and people of Japan, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, David Igulu said; “Today’s event reflects the high-level commitment of Government of Balochistan and longstanding support of Government of Japan to UNICEF in its efforts to provide quality education to children of Balochistan. UNICEF’s support to the Education Department in Balochistan is multidimensional with ALP being the catalyst to accelerate enrolment of out-of-school children. Capitalizing on the excellent results so far, UNICEF will expand the outreach of this model.