OSLO, Norway - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said Pakistan was determined to improve the quality of education, enhance gender equality and provide increased learning opportunities for both male and female students in the country.

“I strongly believe that education of youth is the only way forward for socio-economic progress of our future generations and that eradicating illiteracy is essential for promotion of peace, tolerance and harmony in any society,” he said. He expressed these view during a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He said Pakistan fully shares the vision of Oslo Summit which aims at mobilising strong and renewed political commitment to reach out to the 58 million children who are still being denied their right to education.

The prime minister congratulated Brown on being a major driving force behind the Oslo Summit. Gordon Brown extended condolences on the tragic Army Public School incident and appreciated the decisions taken by the government in its aftermath.

Prime Minister Sharif recalled the international conference on education in Islamabad last year chaired by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and appreciated the personal interest taken by him in increasing literacy and improving the quality of education in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the country’s fight against militancy and terrorism had yielded good results as most of the terrorists had been eliminated and their network and hideouts had been dismantled.

Gordon Brown appreciated the bold decisions taken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in eliminating terrorism from the country and for improving relations with neighboring countries, especially Afghanistan. He said the summit would help the world know how Pakistan could be given more assistance to increase literacy and improve quality of education.

Gordon Brown informed the prime minister that he was planning a meeting of major donors of Pakistan in education on the sidelines of UNGA later this year.

Meanwhile, talking to Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende who called on him, Nawaz Sharif Monday said Pakistan and Norway had extended support to each other at various international forums and the former looked forward to continued cooperation in various spheres.

The prime minister said Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Norway. He extended condolences on the death of Norwegian Ambassador Leif H Larsen in tragic helicopter crash in Naltar.

Later, the prime minister attended a reception hosted by the foreign minister in honour of the visiting heads of delegations at Oslo City Hall, which was also attended by the Norwegian prime minister. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also present in the reception.