LAHORE - Announcing the new phase of Schools Reforms Roadmap, “Parho Punjab--Barho Punjab”, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the target of enrolment of every child until 2018 has been set in the province.

He was addressing inaugural ceremony of the new phase of Roadmap, on Monday. The chief minister formally inaugurated the enrolment campaign for the year 2015-16 by signing admission forms of two children who were also given textbooks, bags and stationery.

The chief minister said that in the new phase the students studying in schools would have to give correct answers to at least 85 per cent questions in examination which would help improve standard of education as well as abilities of students.

The chief minister announced adopting a school in the rural area of Lahore and said that he would not only supervise the affairs of the school but would also visit to the school from time to time. He said that Provincial Ministers, Chief Secretary, Secretaries, heads of different departments, Commissioners, RPOs, DCOs and DPOs each will also adopt a school.

“The Punjab government has made investment of billions of rupees in education sector during the last about seven years however, this journey is very long and much is still to be done for uplifting education sector. There are still a number of schools which lack educational facilities. There is a need to provide missing facilities in all schools as quality education is equal right of every child of Punjab which has to be ensured,” the CM held.

Shahbaz Sharif said that by setting up Daanish schools in the most backward areas of the province, the Punjab government had provided quality educational facilities to the poorest of the poor children. He said that such elements had been criticising Daanish school system as have studied at the best universities of Pakistan and the world. He said that the nation had the right to ask these persons while did they not think about the poor when they were studying at prestigious universities.

He said that it was wrong to think that progress of Pakistan depended only upon education of elites as every child would have to be equipped with the latest knowledge for taking Pakistan forward. He assured that all out resources would be provided for this purpose.

Referring to the measures adopted for the uplift of education sector, the chief minister said that the Educational Endowment Fund had been set up first time in the history of the country with a sum of Rs12 billion and more than 85 thousand talented but deserving students are receiving education in local and foreign educational institutions with the help of this fund.

The chief minister said that culture of Safarish, bribe, corruption and coercion has been eliminated from the province and all recruitments are being made only on merit and eligibility.

He said that 20 years ago, Pakistan was compared with India but now it is lagging far behind India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries and facing serious issues like terrorism, extremism and shortage of electricity. He said that it is a big challenge to overcome these problems but no effort will be spared to rid the county of these problems.

Shahbaz Sharif further said that additional subjects based on tolerance, love and brotherhood are being included in the syllabus of educational institutions and seminaries which will help curb the menace of extremism. He further said that there is a need to launch a crusade against extremists, looters of national resources as well as those creating hurdles in promotion of education and minimizing the gulf between the rich and the poor and to fight against them at every front.

He said that practical efforts are needed instead of slogans and a decisive war will have to be fought for changing miseries of the nation into joys and happiness. He said that education is the only way to steer the country out of problems and crisis. He said that keeping this fact in view Punjab government has taken historic measures for brining a revolution in education sector and educational targets have been set for 2018.

Earlier, Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Secretary Education Abdul Jabbar Shaheen and Special Representative of DFID Sir Michael Barber highlighted the aims and objectives of the new phase of Punjab Schools Reforms Roadmap.

Also, Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting which considered various proposals regarding proposed programme of tax reforms roadmap. He gave approval to tax reforms roadmap on the pattern of reforms roadmap in Education and Health Sectors.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that increase in resources for the projects of public welfare was need of the hour and this objective could be achieved through introducing reforms in tax system. He said that administrative reforms were essential in the tax system and attention should be paid to re-designing of tax recovery system.

Salman Ahmed of international consultancy firm Mackinsey gave a briefing on the proposed tax reforms roadmap. Adviser Dr Ijaz Nabi, MPA Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chief Secretary, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Finance, Secretary Excise, Chairman Punjab Revenue Authority and concerned officials were present.