World Bank President David Malpass has pointed out that Pakistan is at the lowest position after Afghanistan at “Learning Poverty” in the region, urging the government to improve coordination between the federal and provincial governments and optimally utilize funds to achieve learning targets.
Official sources privy to the meeting held between Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and World Bank President David Malpass revealed this news. Learning Poverty is defined as the percentage of 10-year-old children who cannot read and understand a simple story.
The WB president said,
Held a productive dialogue with Pakistani Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood & provincial finance and education ministers. We discussed improving literacy, reducing Learning Poverty & the importance of policy coordination. Good educational outcomes are vital for growth.
According to the official statement issued by the Education Ministry, Shafqat Mahmood led a critical dialogue with David Malpass and his high-level delegation on how they can ensure that all Pakistani children can read by age ten (10). The meeting was also attended by Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) and provincial education and finance ministers along with their secretaries.
The two sides discussed critical actions required by the government to help Pakistan come out of its Learning Poverty. It was agreed that helping children achieve their full learning potential is critical and requires effective use of technical and financial resources. Mahmood highlighted that quality education is the single key factor required for building human capital.
The government is ensuring equal opportunities geographically and across various streams of education, said the Education Minister. He highlighted the role of Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) in building a national consensus on key reform areas, especially uniformity in curriculum standards and its implementation.
The federal minister also mentioned that plans are underway to reorganize the ministry to set up a Policy and Research Unit to analyze critical information on students’ learning outcomes, school data and education financing across Pakistan to ensure better policy and decision making.
The World Bank launched its ambitious “Learning Target” this year in the annual meetings held in October 2019. The World Bank President emphasized the need for coordination in political, financial and management approaches to ensure that countries can bring students back to school and improve learning outcomes to enhance productivity and economic growth. “The World Bank will continue its support and is keen to work with Pakistan on the programs discussed in the meeting”, he concluded.