Islamabad, January 26, 2018 (PPI-OT):Minister School Education Punjab, Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan has said that by the end of 2018, no child between ages 5 to 8 would be out of school in Punjab. He was speaking at a dinner reception hosted by the Pakistan High Commission London in honour of the visiting delegation from Pakistan that attended the Education World Forum (EWF) in London. The visit was organized by the British Council Pakistan, says a press release received from London here today.

Two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the Government of Punjab and the British Council in Pakistan. Rana Mashood and Rosemary Hilhorst (OBE), Country Director, British Council Pakistan signed the agreements. Under the MoUs the British Council in Pakistan will help create linkages and exchange of best practices between School Education Department, Government of Punjab and UK institutions in the areas of Skills and Physical Education. This cooperation will help impart skill sets to the school children to attain relevance to local and international job markets.

Minister School Education, Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan, in his address, gave a comprehensive overview of the Punjab education reforms that have significantly reduced the number of out of school children in the province. He said that under the Punjab Roadmap, education budget has been enhanced by 450%; the number of students’ enrolment has increased from 09 million to 15 million and results have improved from 60% to 78%. Similarly, the Minister said that number of schools with modern facilities has risen from 70% to 98% in the province.

He further informed that the government was introducing the technical skills at the school level to equip our youth with munch needed skill sets relevant to the international job market. The Minister appreciated the cooperation of the British Council in education sector of the province. The Minister particularly commended the vision and leadership role of Chief Minister Punjab, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif in placing education among the top priority areas of the government.

He said that it was because of Chief Minister’s vision that the education sector has shown significant qualitative improvements which have been acknowledged by international publications and institutions alike. Acting High Commissioner, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry welcomed the delegation to the High Commission. He appreciated the Government of Punjab for putting in its best efforts to improve the standards of education in the province. Mr Chaudhry stated that Pakistan and UK enjoy excellent relations in all areas of common interest and termed UK a valuable development partner of Pakistan.

Mr Chaudhry commended the role of the Department for International Development (DfID) and the British Council in promotion of education and uplift of overall socio-economic conditions in Pakistan. Other speakers at the dinner reception included: Michael O’ Sullivan, CEO Cambridge Assessment; Ms Sabahat Rafiq, CEO United We Reach and Rosemary Hilhorst (OBE), Country Director, British Council Pakistan. Ms Hilhorst, in her remarks, reiterated the British Council’s commitment to improving the quality of education in Pakistan and strengthening the cultural ties between the two countries.

While in London, the visiting delegation attended the three-day Education World Forum (EWF) in London which took place from 21 – 24 January 2018. The forum enables ministers and senior advisers from across the world to debate the future of education policy. The EWF theme for 2018 was preparing students for success: thinking, doing, well-being and learning, issues are explored in a series of keynote debates, ministerial exchanges and plenary sessions that bring experts, educators and policy makers together at one platform. The British Council in Pakistan facilitates opportunities to engage with the UK’s experience and expertise. The British Council has been working closely with Pakistani institutions, government departments and civil society in the fields of Education, Arts, English, Society and Examinations.

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