In an interview to Radio Pakistan, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson said they are heavily engaged with the Punjab and KPK and private sector in Sindh to increase school enrolment.
He said the UK helped Punjab Government bring an extra one and a half million children into primary schools during the last three years and is working closely to realize the target of universal primary education in the province by 2018.
The High Commissioner said the British Council is working closely and would extend cooperation to KPK and Sindh to train over three hundred thousand teachers of English language.
He said the UK is also helping build twenty thousand class rooms by 2015 in Pakistan. He, however, said it is for Pakistan Government and its people to ensure that militants are not allowed to shut these schools and prevent girls from attending educational institutions.
To a question he said the United Kingdom had wonderful partnership with the previous and present Punjab Government and the present KPK Government too is heavily engaged in education sector. He said the UK is persuading other international donors to contribute towards promotion of education in Pakistan. He said there is challenge in Sindh but with the help of private sector they have set up an Education Fund to help children attend schools. Presently, the number is thirty thousand but it is fast growing.
Replying to another question he said Pakistan’s spending on education is amongst the least in the world. He, however, said the challenge is on how to manage the money effectively.
He said Punjab’s road map for education is best example of monitoring the programme, focusing whether children are coming to school and schools have the necessary facilities. He said since inception of this roadmap attendance of teachers in government schools has increased from 81% in 2010 to 93% today.
Mr. Adam Thomson said Pakistani graduates in UK are contributing to high quality reseach for the benefit of UK as well as for themselves. He said Britain has more Pakistanis studying there than Chinese, Indians or Americans if population proportion is taken into consideration.
About perception of Pakistan in the outside world, the UK High Commissioner said he and his colleagues in the High Commission have been working hard to getting policy-makers in London and elsewhere understand that what they see on television screens is not whole story about Pakistan. He said vast majority of Pakistanis are moderate.
About grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by European Union, he said the United Kingdom lobbied for Pakistan and said the country was close to a final decision by the EU Parliament on the subject.