UNESCO and Pakistan launching three-year programme to get girls in remote areas into school

UNESCO and the Government of Pakistan are launching a three-year programme aimed at increasing enrolment and improving retention and quality of learning for girls in eight remote districts of Pakistan.

The launch on October 8 will include a recorded message from UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and will be attended by the Minister of State for Federal Education and provincial education ministers as special guests. 

The programme will target some of the most disenfranchised and hardest-to-reach areas of Pakistan where girls’ access to quality primary education is most challenged and where there are high illiteracy rates for adults particularly among women. 

It will be implemented in four provinces with particularly low enrolment and poor retention of girls at primary school (Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh) and four federal  areas (Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Islamabad Capital Territory and Gilgit-Baltistan). 

The programme is supported by the Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education which was established by the Government of Pakistan and UNESCO in December 2012 to address issues of access and quality of girls ‘education in Pakistan especially at primary level. 

The three-year project will be implemented through local civil society organizations and will work at three levels: improving access by mobilizing local communities in favour of girls’ primary education; enhancing retention through improvement in learning environments including activation of parent-teacher committees and school management committees and improved teacher training; and strengthening the capacities of provincial/area and district education officials to plan and implement programmes aimed at closing the gender gap. 

The launch will include a role play event on girls’ education at Rawalpindi Grammar School and a technical meeting to explore past, present and future efforts in closing the gender gap in basic education in Pakistan with experts from federal, provincial and local government, civil society and academia taking part.