Federal Minister Balighur Rehman attends “Orientation Training on Concepts and Methodology of Early Childhood Education for Low Cost Private Schools of Islamabad”

Islamabad, June 10, 2015 (PPI-OT): Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Mr. Balighur Rehman attended the “Orientation Training on Concepts and Methodology of Early Childhood Education for Low Cost Private Schools of Islamabad” today at AEPAM (Academy of Education Planning and Management) Isb.

Investing in young children is one of the smartest investments that developing countries can make, said the Minister of State. He said that in developing countries, nearly 40 percent of all younger than five are stunted or living in poverty. These children are more likely to demonstrate lower academic achievements outcomes and exhibit poorer cognitive ability. These multi- risk factors can lead to poor physical, socio- emotional, and cognitive development and set children on a path of lower

Minister of State lamented that 200 million children under 5 years of age, in developing countries are not meeting their development potential due to absolute poverty and malnutrition. Pakistan accounts for 8 million of these children and sadly loss of human potential is associated with 20% deficit in future earning potential.

As we know that conditions during the first three years set lifelong trajectories and influence the health, well-being, learning and behaviour throughout the child’s life, stated the Minister. Moreover most of adult mental ability is formed in the first three years of life which forms 80% of brain growth.

Minister of State said that we are concerned that Pakistan is ranking amongst one of the lowest position countries with respect to the provision of education to the most vulnerable children of earlier years. Pakistan today has a population for almost 20 million people and amongst these 14% are less than five years of age.

In Pakistan, over 6.5 million children are not enrolled in primary education, in other words 3 out of 10 primary age children are not enrolled in school. Drop out is highest in grade 5 indicating that many children do not transition to lower secondary education and don’t complete basic education. We are mindful that these children need to be provided best services that will provide strong and lifelong foundation to be productive citizens of Pakistan.

With this vision and commitment the Federal Ministry of technical education launched Parwaan, E9, centre of excellence for early childhood education and care, said the Minister. This centre housed at Academy for education planning and development serves as a platform for all four provinces and Gilgit Baltistan, AJK and Fata.

Minister of State said that the basic purpose of this centre is to create a national consensus on the importance of Early Childhood Education and Care. It would serve as a platform for all stakeholders – Government, and private sector- and especially the low cost private sector. Moreover it would be a centre of coordination among provinces; provinces have already designated focal persons in their respective provinces to coordinate with us. Further he added that this centre would coordinate among the E9 countries- India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Nigeria, Mexico as well.

Parwaan has the challenging task of giving guidelines for all the early years’ children of Pakistan, stressed the Minister. First of all Parwaan would constitute models for the 4-year-old child who sits in the katchi classroom, secondly community based interventions for the poorest of the poor children who don’t have access to a learning opportunity, thirdly training of low cost private sector in ECED latest methodology.

“I am pleased to welcome the participants of 3 day workshop that Parwaan has arranged for the low cost private sector for 50 institutional heads of the low cost private schools in Islamabad Capital territory”, congratulated the Minister. These schools will implement what they learn and be pioneers in the latest early years methodology. Private sector is a strong partner for the government in our mandate on ECED. Islamabad alone has 1200 low cost private schools and all over Pakistan there are 70,000 low cost private schools.

In both public and private sector, we want to see a skilled workforce of early years’ teachers, a school environment that supports interactive learning, parents who know the importance of early years’ interventions. We intend to take all our partners along to achieve the best for all children and especially early years.

In the end, Minister of State said that we strongly believe that for each child it is not a privilege but the basic and fundamental right to be given the best of education as a citizen of Pakistan.

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