The dire state of education in Pakistan is one of the biggest barrier holding us from progress and development. Much can be said and written about the challenges the education sector faces in our beloved country.
We don’t have enough schools to enroll all the children, and where we have the schools, the facilities are inadequate and the quality of learning being provided is so poor that most children completing primary are unable to read or write.
According to government (AEPAM) figures, at least 22.8 million children are out of education. 13 million of those are girls. Unfortunately, girls in Pakistan face multiple challenges, hence at times its’ not just about providing a school. Detail work has to be done to engage communities, parents and extended families to educate them on importance of education for girls.
The other key issue we face as a society is now the provision of multiple education systems, which is only leading onto creating more inequality for our new generations. The elite private school systems for the rich, low fee schools for the poorer families, the government and the madrassa system for those who cant even feed their children two meals a day. One wonders where we are heading if this is not fixed on emergency basis.
The barriers to girls’ education are even more upsetting. The incident of 12 girls’ schools being burnt in Diamer on the 12th of July, 2018 is the sad reality we are still facing. This incident shows that there are still people out there who think providing education to girls is a sin.
Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education (PAGE) has been making efforts to change this. Its diverse partnerships and unique approach enables it to address the issue in much more cost effective and impactful way.
On 1st of August, 2018 PAGE announced its collaboration with Aaminh Sheikh as its Global Ambassador for Girls’ Education. Sheikh is an acclaimed actress, well- recognized for her extensive work on television and film and performing roles that highlight serious social issues particularly around gender and female empowerment.
Sheikh has joined hands with Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education to bridge the gap between educational inequalities in Pakistan, and lead young girls, with fewer opportunities, and poorer backgrounds towards prosperous futures.
PAGE strives for provision of equal opportunities in education for both genders, particularly focusing on improving the female literacy landscape in Pakistan. PAGE works to improve the gender gap through policy analysis and recommendations, advocacy, and supporting women entrepreneurship within the education sector. PAGE in collaboration with American Refugee Committee International, provides a platform to promote girls’ education and leadership. One of its key initiative the Star Schools which is part of the nationwide Out-of-School-Children (OOSC) Program which aim to enroll One Million young boys and girls into schools, both formal and informal all over the country. Star School will provide Non formal Education Curriculum and help children complete primary education in 3 years instead of 5.
Aamina Sheikh is committed to support PAGE and its vision. She said “Educating girls is the core means of restoring the balance in our society. As stats show, due to misinterpreted religious practices and cultural limitations in Pakistan, girls are either not sent to school or pulled out of school at primary levels. This is where PAGE comes in to provide aptly equipped girls specific schools and to sensitively advocate and guide families to educate their girls in these safe facilities.”