ISLAMABAD - Ministry of federal education and professional training on Thursday sought cooperation of Japan International Cooperation Agency to improve literacy rate in the country.

A statement issued by the ministry said that a delegation of JICA in Pakistan, led by its Vice President Dr Toda Takao, called on the Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood on Thursday in Islamabad.

The Education Minister welcomed the vice president JICA and his delegation and said that Pakistan and Japan had long standing and durable relations. He further said that JICA role and support in Education in Pakistan was highly commendable. Education Minister said that Pakistan was facing various challenges in Education sector. “Among these challenges improving the Literacy Rate and brining the out of school children to schools are the main priorities”, added the minister.

Shafqat Mahmood said that as per vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, we are working relentlessly in education sector to bring positive changes in it while taking all the stakeholders on board. “Education is the Primary focus of this government and the only way out of poverty is through pursuing Education and Professional Training”, added the Federal Education Minister.

Federal Education Minister informed Dr Toda Takao that Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training is working on introducing a Nationwide Literacy Program to drastically improve the Literacy Rate in Pakistan. “We would like the technical support of JICA in this regard and would like to benefit from the international experience of JICA in the field of Literacy”, added Shafqat Mahmood.

Shafqat Mahmood said that we have started a Program for the enrolment of the out of school children in Pakistan the Pilot project of which is already launched in Islamabad Capital Territory in which about Eleven Thousand out of school children will be enrolled in government schools at the start of New Academic Year. “We will introduce Technology to overcome the lack of Teachers, access and capacity issues”, added Education Minister.

He said that Education is beyond Politics and we will work with all the provinces and relevant stakeholders to build consensus on introducing Uniform Education System and Uniform Curriculum to provide level playing field to all students and to inculcate uniform National Thought. He further said that Ministry of Federal Education and Professional training is working on Skill Development and starting skill education from schools which is also an area of interest for JICA. “The task force on Skill Development has finalized its recommendations and we are now moving into the implementation phase of this and would very much like the support of JICA”, added Shafqat Mahmood.

The education minister further said that we are reorganizing the education ministry and some of its attached departments to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and to avoid duplication and wastage of valuable resources.

Vice President JICA, Dr Toda Takao appreciated the steps taken by the Education Minister for promotion of education and skill development and offered JICA support and said that we are looking forward to work closely with government of Pakistan in the field of literacy, out of school children and skill development.

Dr Toda Takao said that we are currently working on the assessment of all the Education Projects of JICA in Pakistan and will make them more effective. He said that we will assist the Ministry of Federal Education in all its initiatives and will share our international experiences in the field of Literacy. 

Both, the Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood and Vice President JICA, Dr Toda Takao agreed on keeping regular coordination for increased cooperation in education sector in Pakistan.