KARACHI: The British High Commissioner for Pakistan, Adam Thomson, said that transformation of the education sector is essential to safeguard Pakistan's future.
He was addressing members of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) at a local hotel on Thursday.
The High Commissioner maintained that although the current situation in education sector seems dismal, there has been some progress. However, this progress is not fast enough.
He pointed out that the global average primary school enrollment is 87 per cent but that of Pakistan is 56 per cent.
Seventeen million primary school age children, equivalent to the entire population of Karachi, are out of school in Pakistan, Adam Thomson added.
He pointed out that UK aid from the Department for International Development will help support four million children into school, train 90,000 teachers, fund six million textbook sets and rebuild schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa destroyed by militants or floods.
The High Commissioner said that the UK is already working with Pakistan to assist in this necessary transformation in Pakistan's education.
He stated that the UK has more to offer Pakistan on education than any other country in the world.
Adam Thomson cited founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's strong personal conviction that 'education is a matter of life and death for Pakistan'.
Arguing that an education transformation is possible, he cited the example of a province in Brazil where the literacy rate among eight year olds jumped from 49 per cent to 73 per cent just three years after a reform programme was launched.
Adam Thomson said Pakistan could expect to start seeing the results within two years.
Highlighting the strong links between Pakistan and the UK on education, he said that the UK and Pakistan are linked by history, language and educational testing. More Pakistanis still take English exams than any other nationality outside a formal government education sector.
'We are connected, joined at the hip. We cannot flourish if you do not flourish. You cannot flourish if your population is uneducated'.
The UK will support four million children in school and is set to provide 650 million pounds, equivalent to nearly Rs100 billion, over four years for primary and secondary education in Pakistan.