The duke and duchess of Cambridge greet schoolchildren during their visit to Islamabad Model School for Girls, Quaid-i-Azam University Colony, on Wednesday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
The duke and duchess of Cambridge greet schoolchildren during their visit to Islamabad Model School for Girls, Quaid-i-Azam University Colony, on Wednesday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton began their tour of Pakistan on Tuesday with a day of education, conservation and official engagements in the capital.

The British royal couple first visited the Islamabad Model School for Girls in Quaid-i-Azam University Colony. They were received by the school’s principal Noorul Ain and Area Education Officer Sohail Khan.

They interacted with students and teachers in various classes, and were briefed on a teaching fellowship programme run by Teach for Pakistan, a partner of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

According to a statement, Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood said that the duke and duchess’ visit symbolises the strong ties between both countries and the importance both countries place on education. Federal Education Secretary Arshad Mirza and FDE Director General Syed Umair Javed also praised their visit to the school.

During their visit, the couple met students and heard about how they are benefiting from Teach for Pakistan, a teacher training programme modelled on the United Kingdom’s ‘Teach First’ scheme.

They then visited the Margalla Hills to take part in a number of activities that highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to meet several Sustainable Development Goals, including joining students from four local schools to set up a leopard camera trap.

Environmental change and its impact are an increasingly serious issue in Pakistan, which is especially vulnerable to climate change, and the Margalla Hills in particular face threats of encroachment, poaching, wildfires, invasive species and littering.

The duke and duchess also held official meetings with President Arif Alvi and an official meeting and lunch with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019