Islamabad - The joint declaration issued at the end of 10th E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting has pledged to finance education by allocating up to 6 per cent of their GDP. The 10th two-day E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting held in Islamabad concluded on Friday.

In its joint statement on Education Beyond 2015 the countries pledged reaching the internationally recognised benchmark of 4-6 per cent of gross domestic product and 20 per cent of total public expenditure for education while emphasising that strong domestic financing is the key to success.

The meeting recommended priority action areas for the development of education including ensuring equitable and inclusive access to quality education, quality of teaching and learning, lifelong learning for all, skills for work and competencies for citizenship and social cohesion, governance and management of education systems and financing.

The “E” stands for education and the “9” represents the following nine countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan. The countries represent 60 percent of the world and 70 percent illiterates living in these countries.   The chair of the E-9 countries has been given to Pakistan for two years.  While the size and scale of progress has been diverse among the nine countries, the countries recognised that the EFA agenda remained unfinished in each of the countries in terms of fulfilling the equal right to relevant and quality education for all. The countries committed to enhance the collaboration among the E-9 countries to implement and monitor the Framework for Action of the post 2015 education agenda that will be adopted at World Education Forum (Incheon, Republic of Korea in May, 2015). In the joint statement they said “We should make every effort possible to ensure that all children, youth and adults have equal access to quality learning opportunities, at all levels of education, from early childhood care and education (ECCE) to tertiary and higher education, in both formal and non-formal settings”.

The joint statement called for making all possible efforts to ensure equal accesses for all children, youth and adults, improvement in professional capability and performance of teachers. Minister of State for Federal Education and Profession Training Muhammad Balig-ur-Rehman while addressing concluding session of E-9 conference said that focus on achieving goals of E-9 has become a compulsion for E-9 member countries, as education is the engine for socio-economic development.

“Pakistan is committed to implement recommendations of this meeting that will go a long way in addressing the core issues regarding education effectively”, the minister added. The minister said that education sector reforms, national education policy 2009 and national plan of action 2013-2016 have be formulated to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the support of international community as well as the E-9 countries.

The conference urged to improve the technical and vocational education and training system adding that education should be top priority for government funding, while government is the primary duty bearer for efficient, equitable and sustainable financing of education.