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US offers $100m for education reforms

December 01, 2006


WASHINGTON, Nov 30: The United States has earmarked $100 million to assist education reforms in Pakistan in 2007, says a joint statement issued on Thursday.

The statement said that besides expanding educational opportunities for the people of Pakistan, the US educational assistance also hoped to create new prospects for economic growth and development in the country.

The United States has disbursed more than $200 million since 2002 to help Pakistan reform its education system.

Pakistan and the United States held the inaugural session of their high-level education dialogue in Washington on Wednesday. Education Minister Javed Ashraf represented Pakistan and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings led the US team.

Established under the Pakistan-US strategic partnership initiated during President George W. Bush’s visit to Islamabad in March, the education dialogue aims to enhance bilateral cooperation in the education sector at all levels.

During the discussions, programmes for future cooperation in the education sector were also discussed.

The US Department of State, the Pakistan Ministry of Education, Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and non-governmental sector will work together to implement this programme.

A delegation of Pakistani education officials, including representatives of the four provinces, will visit the US in January 2007 to observe innovative and entrepreneurial community college programmes in Florida.

It will be followed by the visit to Pakistan of a well-respected US community college leader for consultations with Pakistan’s higher education sector. The US Community College Programme, created by Under Secretary Karen Hughes, will support this initiative to build capacity in community college sector in Pakistan.

The two countries will continue to promote student exchanges as a means of fostering greater opportunity and understanding between their youths.

Senior US officials will visit Pakistan in 2007 to maintain this important area of cooperation through continuation of the bilateral education dialogue.

The inaugural meeting reviewed teacher training programmes, focusing on promotion of teacher, student and faculty exchanges.

The meeting also discussed proposals for improving secondary-level science and math studies. Another subject was administrative capacity-building, including school infrastructure.