ISLAMABAD – Commonwealth of Learning (CoL), a prestigious institution in UK, and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) have agreed on a draft plan to launch open-schooling system in Pakistan for achieving millennium development goals, ensuring universal education by the year 2015.

The main features of the draft plan were explained at a presentation given by the COL consultant Dr. John Tony here Monday at the AIOU’s headquarters. Under the proposed plan, an Institute of Open Schooling and Lifelong learning will be established at the AIOU to impart education at primary, middle and higher secondary levels throughout Pakistan through distance and open-learning system.

The system has already been successfully tested in many other countries including UK, India, Namibia and Tanzania to successful overcome illiteracy.  The vice Chancellor AIOU Prof. Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi said on the occasion that the open schooling system would be a milestone in achieving the millennium goals. The plan, he said will be implemented in consultation and cooperation of provincial governments and other concerned federal institutions. The AIOU was looking forward to act as facilitator and coordinator in fighting illiteracy at all levels.

He said the University has the required capacity and academic potential for developing necessary curriculum and other parameters to implement the plan in its true spirit. Mukhtar Hussain Talpur, Director, AIOU’s Bureau of University Extension and Special Programmes said the proposed plan provides a road map for upgrading literacy at all levels in the country, particularly in the far-flung and less-developed regions.

He said the AIOU would be seeking support from relevant institutions home and abroad to achieve the desired objectives. An NGO, ‘Plan International’ has already provided Rs. 18.4 million to AIOU for promoting primary and post primary education in the country.

Dr Tohn Tony explained that through the open and distance learning millions of Pakistanis currently outside the formal educational system would have access to opportunities to undertake organized educational activities at pre-tertiary level, which will improve the quality of their lives. AIOU will develop wide-range of educational courses at post-literary pre-tertiary level and set up an effective open learning structures and system for those young and adult people who are currently outside the formal and non-formal education system.

Majid Rashid a focal person of COL in Pakistan said that the commonwealth will be supporting the AIOU in various sectors of education to achieve common objectives. It has already been decided to set up a branch of COL in Pakistan by June this year.