ISLAMABAD:To accomplish the target of 90 percent literacy rate set for the vision 2025, the government should run existing formal education system side by side with non-formal education across the country.

The National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) chairperson, former Senator Razina Alam Khan expressed these views while chairing the third meeting of Islamabad Forum on Non-formal Education (NFE) here on Tuesday.

She said the purpose of constituting the forum is to address the issues of NFE and to work in collaboration with the public private partnership to improve and support it.

“Existing formal system is adding about 1% literacy rate annually and through the existing pace Pakistan could only achieve 68% literacy rate by 2025”, she said.

She said according to statistics, there is one third out of school children in South Asian countries. Similarly, educational data showed that there are more than 40% out of school children in Pakistan while the ratio of out of school girls is greater than boys.

She claimed that there is a well-organized formal system of education for primary grades, but this system is not sufficient to provide education to 57 million illiterates and 6.4 million children of 10 to 14 years of age.

She said, “The government has taken a number of supportive steps to improve the education sector but there is dire need to activate the NFE system in order to complete the unfinished agenda of vision 2025.”

National Training Institute has devised a National Plan of Action, in collaboration with all the stakeholders to achieve educational targets by 2025. Inter- provincial ministers have supported the NFE concept.

The NTI has unveiled its policy regarding the NFE only for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) so far while future needs and way forwards were discussed in the forum’s meeting.

Ministry of Human Rights presented findings of a case study regarding out of school children in Katchi Abadies (slum areas) of the federal capital.

The report said 2,174 children are out of school which is 70% of the selected sample, the reasons behind it were; poverty, lack of interest, parental care and educational facilities, absence of B-form/birth registration.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ministry of Human Rights has taken an initiative to bring the out of school children into the mainstream of life at the federal level by mapping of existing interventions, enrollment and monitoring through non-formal Education Management Information System (NF-EMIS).

JICA chief congratulated the NCHD on establishment of NTI. The forum recommended that MIS system/ data base of out of school children may be strengthened while capital administration and development division would devise the plan for a formal education of children from five to sixteen years and the NCHD to devise Plan of Action for out of school children for the NFE.

Under the ICT Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2012, Education Advisory Councils might be activated to ensure that every child in the area is attending school.

Vocational trainings may be integrated with the NFE through National Vocational and Technical Education Commission. Parents Teachers Association might be reactivated.

NCHD Chairperson thanked the participants for their contribution and said their recommendations would be put forward to the government and this forum would be run by the consensus of all stakeholders.