Islamabad - Education experts have urged the federal government to enhance budget share for education by marking it as the pivotal factor in national growth and development while the new national education policy should address the accountability process in education sector as well.

These recommendations were taken up by the leading educationists during a day-long seminar “Finance More to Educate More” held here to commemorate International Literacy Day 2015. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with Oxfam GB (OGB) organised the seminar that focused on education financing.

While addressing the seminar, AJK Education Minister Mian Abdul Waheed said: “We need to change the perception regarding needs and requirements for distribution of resources for education.” While talking about the importance of general public awareness, the minister said that common man and voter should come forward by compelling their leaders to work on their basic rights like education.

Experts expressed their concerns over the current situation in education sector and suggested that there should be a process to improve curriculum and formal teaching methods as per international standards. Education financing should focus on bringing out equal number of girls as boys nationally, they added. They also mentioned that curriculum should be designed with achievable goals and outcomes and focused towards the labour market. They also stressed the need for accountability of funds through third party such as media.

The event was divided into three sessions which each began with a presentation from the Education Youth Ambassadors (EYAs) of ITA’s EYA program for Pakistan. Moving forward, each panelist gave their suggestions on the topic and then held an open floor for discussion on any recommendations being formed.

The first session ‘Quality vs Quantity’ Hassan Sattar, Managing Director, Silver Oaks School System, said: “Smart is not something you are, it’s something you get through, lasting curiosity to learn and acquiring intellectual virtues for lifelong well-being.”

Dr Vardah Malik, Education Public-Private-Partnership Specialist while addressing the session said  that the private sector was not previously so concerned about education but now education sector is also being looked at by them, this is a positive sign of development for communities, as partnerships are a way forward. In the second session, ‘Gender Responsive Financing’, the representative of KP Education Department Sultan Mehmood, Additional Director Elementary and Secondary Department, highlighted that it is important to have skill development to meet the demand and supply market for employment and more small and medium enterprises apart from medical, sciences and law.

Talking on this occasion, Qadeer Baig, Country Representative of Rutgers WPF said: “The mind-set is that women stay at home and hence do not need education however they lead generations and focusing on gender equity is important for the development of Pakistan.”

Alam Thaheem, Director Literacy & Non-Formal Education, Education and Literacy Department, Sindh said that priority should be given to girls in such a way that her journey while trying to gain education should be incentivised in a safe and secure environment.