ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani has said that his ministry has set the target of education budget up to 7 per cent of the GDP by 2015 in a draft of the upcoming National Education Policy. The minister was speaking in consultation meeting with parliamentarians on "Education for All," organised by UNESCO and Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) on Thursday. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight areas where Pakistan needs to focus attention for overcoming deficiencies in education sector. Mazharul Haq, Education Minister, Sindh, Sardar Hussain Babak, Education Minister, NWFP, Main Mujtaba Shujaul Rehman, Education Minister, Punjab, Mukhtar Ali Advocate, Chairperson Standing Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education Department, NWFP, Ch Javed Ahmed Advocate, Chairperson Standing Committee, Punjab Assembly, Aabid Sher Ali, Chairperson National Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Senator Razina Alam, Chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Education and Ghulam Farid Kathia, Minister of State for Education were present on the ocassion. Federal Minister for Education said that new draft of National Education Policy also has set the target of achieving UPE. "New Education Policy draft envisages to eliminate inequalities in education system, ensure provision of uniform curriculum framework and provision of equal opportunities for education to all segments of the society", the minister claimed. He also hailed UNESCO and PILDAT for organising the consultation meeting on 'Education for All'. He also said that the Ministry of Education has planned to sign a 'Joint Education Programme' in near future with the UN for next 2 years. He hoped that donors would come forward to finance various segments of the programme. "This plan will be a great step towards achieving EFA goals," the minister added. He also maintained that PPP in manifesto had pledged to achieve 100 per cent enrolment by 2015, which is the ultimate goal of EFA. He further stated that PPP government wants to provide incentives to the schoolchildren of the government schools in the under developed areas to boost their attendance and instil interest in learning. He also said that it was praise-worthy that Benazir Bhutto was the first Prime Minister of Pakistan who signed declaration 'Education for All' in September 1994 in the presence of UN agencies and international leaders. Pir Mazharul Haq, Education Minister, Sindh, in his remarks stressed for decreasing the ratio of drop-outs at primary and middle schools levels, unemployment, imparting qualitative education and eliminating political interference in educational institutions. While talking of problems of students from rural areas, Pir Mazharul Haq said that it is the responsibility of the government to provide textbooks free of cost to all students of public schools. Sardar Hussain Babak, Education Minister, NWFP, said despite limited resources, the NWFP government is trying to increase literacy rate. He said that in NWFP most of the schoolchildren could not enrolled because of financial problems of their parents. He said that given this problem, the NWFP government is paying 200 stipend to each student per month along with free of cost textbooks up to intermediate level. He also said that parents-teachers conferences are also being held regularly for developing understanding between parents and teachers to promote education. Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Education Minister, Punjab, said that the forum has provided parliamentarians an opportunity to learn more about the concept and status of education in Pakistan. Dr Maurice Robson, Director UNESCO said that Pakistan is one of 6 countries, which is far from EFA goals". He suggested that that there should be legislation for free primary education as a fundamental human right. He also said that budget should be increased at least up to 4 per cent of the GDP. He further stated that the UNESCO Convention against discrimination in education needs to be rectified. Earlier, in his welcome address, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT gave a detailed description of joint declaration of "Education for All", signed on February 5, 2008 by seventeen major political parities of Pakistan, including PPP. He said that the declaration commits that political parties would achieve eight basic education and literacy objectives in the country. He also informed that the Constitution of Pakistan (Article 37 (b) commits that the state would provide free and compulsory education up to secondary level and eradicate illiteracy from the country. According to eight points of the joint declaration, funding for education would be increased by allocating minimum budget of 4 per cent of the GDP, within next 3 years, allocation of at least 10 per cent of education budget to literacy and NFBE programmes with an immediate effect alon with offering free, compulsory primary education to all children and achieving 100 per cent primary enrolment, 86 per cent adult literacy by 2015.