“Pakistan no longer has the luxury to focus on bringing the colossal pre-pandemic figure of 22.8 million out-of-school children into schools but must now actively strategize to prevent a roll-back on important gains made vis-à-vis education, especially girls’ access to education in the last decade.” – Areebah Shahid
Education activists, influencers and media personalities from around the country gathered for this virtual event. The virtual consultation was aimed at garnering the support of key influencers from all walks of life to ensure that education and the future of over 80 million Pakistani children does not take a backseat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key findings and recommendations of the recently released white paper by PYCA, “Public Investment in Education – COVID-19 & Other Past Emergencies,” were also shared with the participants. The white paper is authored by Asim Bashir Khan, an economist and Public Financial Management expert.
Read: 49% Pakistani Girls Out Of Schools. Situation To Aggravate After COVID-19. SDPI Panel Suggests Solutions
“Cuts in education budgets and more specifically within the education development expenditure are a routine practice and have little to do with the fall-out of emergency situations such as the ongoing pandemic.” – Mr. Asim Bashir Khan.
There is however, little justification for this especially after the government itself claimed the feat of a V-shaped recovery. By doing so, the government has also effectively acknowledged that the tide of anticipated financial losses has been reversed. An early and sustained path to economic recovery coupled with international monetary support in turn means that the state does, in fact, have the fiscal space to prioritize development spending on education and other social sector subjects.
“While we have a multitude of challenges that are likely to only multiply as Pakistan’s population grows, the important thing is to begin the process of reform and begin it immediately.” – Zarrar Khuhro
“Elaborating on the key linkages that education has with climate change, livelihoods or security can go a long way in ensuring that more people appreciate the importance of greater investment in education.” – George Fulton
“Bringing more children to schools is just one aspect of the education dilemma in Pakistan, quality is another huge concern. Investment in education should be geared towards making schools places of true learning for our children.” – Fasi Zaka
You can watch the entire session here: