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PESHAWAR: Promotion of education stressed

April 23, 2004

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PESHAWAR, April 22: Speakers at a seminar here on Wednesday stressed the need for making coordinated efforts to promote education in far-flung areas.

Organized by an NGO, Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) , the seminar provided an opportunity to all stake-holders at the provincial and district levels, including the education department, district government and academia, to share their views about the status of Education For All (EFA).

The EFA represents the key objective of Pakistan government's plan to honour an international commitment reflected in the Dakar Framework Action. The latter was agreed at the World Education Forum, Dakar, 2000, where participants from 182 countries and major development agencies committed themselves to achieving the EFA goals by the year 2015.

District Dir Nazim Sahibzada Tariqullah said that efforts to boost education at the grass-roots level had been successful. With the help of the SRPS, the district government would be able to enhance literacy rate in the most backward district of the province, he added.

He said that female literacy rate in his district was very low and a huge effort was needed to enhance it. He said abject poverty and scarce resources in the area were chiefly to blame for this state of affairs. He thanked SRSP and Unicef for their efforts in the district and assured his government's support for promoting education in the area.

The DCO Upper Dir emphasized the need for establishing more girls schools in the district. The director primary education, however, was of the view that instead of opening new ones, the under-utilized schools should be utilized in a proper manner.

One of the causes for teachers' absenteeism was non-availability of local teachers, especially female, he said, adding that there were no hostels for the women teachers who came from far-flung areas.

Unicef's provincial head Osama Makawa said that the focus should be on achieving objectives and all institutions should make coordinated efforts in this behalf.

SRSP chief executive Masoodul Mulk said his organization believed that communities "definitely have potential" to resolve their issues and problems. The organization was playing the role of a catalyst to accelerate development processes.

He assured all-out support to the district government in its efforts to boost education. The SRSP had launched a project titled District Education Plan (DEP) in Upper Dir funded by ESRA-USAID.

One of the main objectives of the project is to establish a sustainable and viable education forum at the district level, which will continue its efforts for the promotion of quality education for all in Dir Upper district. Instead of creating new forums, the SRSP aims to strengthen the existing district Education For All (EFA) forum established by Pakistan government.