islamabad - A first national consultation was held yesterday for sensitisation of stakeholders on Sustainable Development Goal 4 and its alignment with the national and provincial/ area policy imperatives.

The workshop helped building the understanding and knowledge of key education sector stakeholders on SDG-4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.

UNESCO Islamabad, UNICEF and the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, government of Pakistan, jointly organised the first national consultation workshop on Sustainable Development Goal – 4 (SDG) “the Education 2030 Agenda” in Islamabad.

The workshop aimed at developing a common understanding on SDG-4 and devising a roadmap and effective strategies for attainment of quality education and goals set for 2030 which were adopted at the World Education Summit in May 2015 in Incheon Republic of Korea this year.

The event was attended by over 150 participants including officials of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFE&PT), provincial/ area education departments, civil society organisations, academia, media, United Nations agencies and donor community. Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training, Muhammad Baliugh-ur-Rehman in his inaugural speech mentioned that during UNESCO General Conference in November this year, Pakistan fully committed to these goals and they have declared and adopted these goals as the national development goals 2030.

He expressed that during the last two years, a phenomenal increase in budgetary provision for education is made. Resource allocations for tertiary education which were just Rs 40 billion has been enhanced to Rs 80 billion. The resources for education are being gradually enhanced in line with tax to GDP ratio. The Minister also added that more than 400 schools in the capital territory are refurbished with all state-of-the-art facilities to have more and more children enrolled and attract many students from private schools.

He informed that the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) has approved formation of a Core Committee on SDG-4 with equal representation. In the conclusion, “the Minister emphasised that we need to create awareness to know these goals by heart and also create synergy on SDGs implementation”. 

Speaking at the inaugural session, Cris Munduade, Deputy Representative UNICEF said the new SDGs goals state a clear commitment to quality, inclusiveness and lifelong learning with a focus on childhood education. “The journey of education is exciting and challenging, children cannot wait and the right to education must be seen as a basic human right. UNICEF is committed to strongly support the country led policies, actions and priorities for education to meet the 2030 new targets,” Cris Munduade emphasised.

Giving the global perspective on SDG-4, Vibeke Jensen, UNESCO Representative to Pakistan highlighted the whole consultative process of developing SDGs based on the learnings and lesson learnt from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) goals. She explained about SDG-4 goals and targets with an expectations from the countries to localize, contextualize and devise an implementation strategy to its attainment. She mentioned that the SDGs goals were endorsed by Education Ministers of the Member States including the Minister of State for Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. She expressed that the SDGs goals were holistic, aspirational, transformative, inclusive and interlinked with all other SDGs.

At the concluding session, education experts participated in panel discussion on quality education, inclusive and equitable education, and financing imperatives and shared their views in light of the SDG-4, the 2030 education agenda.