Education Minister Briefs World Bank Delegation About Joint Programs

The Federal Minister for Education, Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture, Shafqat Mahmood, met with a delegation of the World Bank (WB) today.

He welcomed the delegation led by Practice Manager, Christian Aedo, to the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, and remarked that there had been no project between the ministry and the WB when he had taken charge of the ministry but they are now “jointly carrying out so many important projects”.

These projects include the $200 million ASPIRE program, a program-for-results financing, a $400 million Higher Education Development Program, a $19 million COVID-19 Response, Recovery and Resilience in Education project, and a $20 million USD DARE grant program.

Minister Mahmood assured the delegation of the scheduled execution of all these programs. He added that “the ministry is also very keen and pleased to actively participate in the World Bank ‘Accelerator’ program for which we are formulating certain priority actions regarding out of school’s children, quality education, distance learning, and remedial learning”.

While discussing learning poverty, he stated that it has increased from 75 percent to 79 percent because of the pandemic. He said, “We are very much concerned about the issue and in next IPEMC which is scheduled to be held this month in Karachi, the introduction of remedial courses to reduce the learning poverty, would be the part of agenda of IPEMC”.

The minister also apprised the delegation that the federal Cabinet will accord the approval of the merger of different organizations of the ministry to create the Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE) as an executive department for data gathering and the development of research and assessment mechanisms.

The Chairman of the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission, Syed Javed Hasan, requested that the WB start engaging with Pakistan’s largest vocational training institution that is creating employability by equipping the youth with the latest skills. The delegation subsequently approved the proposal and collaboration.

Minister Mahmood highlighted the Ministry of Education’s technological intervention projects in ICT, including STEM and the Blended Learning project. He said, “Before 2019, no educationist talked about the significance of technology in education on different fora, but after the outbreak of COVID-19, all educationists were emphasizing on the use of technology to leapfrog the hurdles existing in the education system”.

He added that the results of the technological interventions will take time but the work in the right direction.

Federal Education Secretary Naheed Durrani emphasized the establishment of a sustainable and permanent system of connectivity with the provinces for the exchange of information and oversight of these projects instead of a project-by-project liaison.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the progress of the ongoing projects and reiterated their resolve for enhanced coordination and collaboration.