ISLAMABAD-Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Monday said that the ministry and World Bank (WB) are closely working in providing education to students through distance learning during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

A statement released by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) referring to the federal minister said that distance learning programme in present circumstances due to COVID-19 is the highest priority of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.

This was said by Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood during a meeting with the World Bank’s new Country Director to Pakistan Mr. Najy Benhassine on Monday at his office in Islamabad. 

Federal Secretary Farah Hamid Khan and Additional Secretary Mohaiyyuddin Ahmed Wani were also present. Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood further said that they are enhancing the abilities of developing online contents, increasing the use of technology in education, developing a mechanism to reach teachers and students and improving the access and quality of internet for students and educational institutions because no one can predict the termination of COVID-19 pandemic.

Expressing his views on learning poverty, the minister stated that the child was not being taught in the language which he could understand, which was one of the main reasons behind high percentage of learning poverty in Pakistan, and Single National Curriculum would largely address this issue.

The Ministry of Federal Education and World Bank are working very closely in many areas and the World Bank also has provided $5 million under the Education Emergency Programme which was very helpful for starting a dedicated TV Channel “Tele School” by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.

The Education Minister congratulated the World Bank Country Director and conveyed his best wishes for his new assignment in Pakistan, reiterating that the cooperation and collaboration between both sides would be further enhanced.

Highlighting his priorities in Pakistan, World Bank Country Director Mr. Najy Benhassine has stated that he has chosen his first meeting with the Minister of Education which reflects the importance of education for him.

Separately the chairperson BISP and Waseela-i-Taleem Programme Mrs Sania Nishtar met the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood here. 

The Federal Minister for Education was given a detailed presentation on the WeT programme, key process, mechanism of monitoring and impact of it on enrolment, attendance, grade repetition and women empowerment.