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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Declares Education Emergency to Promote Literacy Nationwide

ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made a bold declaration, announcing an education emergency across Pakistan. The aim is to tackle the staggering issue of 26 million out-of-school children and propel the nation towards becoming one of the most educated societies globally.

Addressing a National Conference on Education Emergency, attended by federal ministers, parliamentarians, vice-chancellors, diplomats, and development partners, the Prime Minister expressed unwavering determination to lead this initiative.

He pledged personal oversight, intending to collaborate with all provincial chief ministers, transcending political affiliations, in a unified effort to address this pressing challenge. Drawing inspiration from historical examples of nations rising from adversity, such as Germany and Japan, he underscored Pakistan’s potential for transformative change through collective action.

PM Shehbaz highlighted the achievements of the Punjab government during his tenure as chief minister, emphasizing initiatives like the Zevar Taleem Program, which boosted enrollment rates, especially for girls. He recounted rescuing 90,000 boys from brick kilns to facilitate their education, outsourcing poorly performing schools for improvement, and establishing Daanish Schools providing free high-quality education and boarding for underprivileged children.

Acknowledging the financial strain of enrolling 26 million out-of-school children, PM Shehbaz stressed the importance of resolve, drawing parallels with Pakistan’s past achievements, including nuclear capability and counter-terrorism efforts. Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, echoed the urgency for action, emphasizing the distressing statistics of education in Pakistan.

International representatives, including UNICEF and the World Bank, highlighted the need for increased investment in education to combat alarming literacy rates and stunted growth. They emphasized the interconnectedness of education with broader developmental goals, advocating for inclusive policies and strategic partnerships.

As Pakistan stands at a crossroads, with its youth demographic presenting both challenges and opportunities, the conference called for concerted efforts towards enhanced funding, inclusivity, and infrastructure development in education. It concluded with assurances of international cooperation and a shared commitment to realizing Pakistan’s educational aspirations.

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