The call by the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), a coalition of 52 international aid agencies, comes on the heels of global support for the teenage Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousufzai to be nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. Also, the office of the UN special envoy for education has declared November 10 a “global day of action” for Yousafzai.
Separately, UN’s special envoy for global education Gordon Brown, a former British PM, was in Islamabad to discuss ways of getting Pakistani, girls who are not being schooled, into the education system.
Highlighting the significance of Brown’s visit to Pakistan, the forum said “with such broad support within Pakistan and across the world, the UN envoy’s visit should serve as an opportunity for Pakistan to further improve its efforts, provide an enabling environment, increase investments and commit to policies needed to guarantee every girl has safe contact to a quality education”.
“There is an urgent need for girls to be enabled to have safe, quality schooling in Pakistan; and while the importance of education for all — girls and boys — is recognized by the government, it needs serious attention, commitment and greater financial investment. The current barriers preventing girls from their schooling — child marriage, discrimination, poverty and violence, must be removed if their true potential is to be reached and we are all to benefit,” said PHF member Rashid Javed.
The forum urged the Pakistan government to ensure gender equality in education through relevant transparent and actionable plans and policies, and, increase the allocation of resources to education and, within that, enhance share of budget allocated to girls’ education and quality aspects of education.