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> All Parties Conference on ‘Education For All’ on February 5
Media Briefing
January 18, 2008

1. APC Fact Sheet [PDF]
2. Statement of UNESCO-Director [PDF]

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO Pakistan Office and Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency – PILDAT have announced the convening of an All Parties Conference (APC) on ‘Education For All’ on February 5, 2008 at Islamabad roughly 2 weeks ahead of the general election. Briefing the media in Islamabad, Jorge Sequeira, Director and Representative of UNESCO in Islamabad and Ahmed Bilal Mehboob of PILDAT said that all those political parties which were represented in the immediately past National or one of the four provincial assemblies have been invited to the APC. The invitations have already been dispatched to the party leaders and personal contacts are being made to ensure the presence of party leaders and their delegations at the APC in this busy and hectic election campaign period. The organisers said that Pakistan has taken a number of initiatives to improve the state of primary education in the country but a lot needs to be done to catch up with its South Asian neighbours and to meet the targets committed by the country at the Millennium Summit in the form of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and at the Dakar World Education Forum in the form of “Education For All” framework of action in the year 2000. The objective of the Conference is to brief the political leadership of the country about the state of primary education in the country in comparison to the other developing countries especially the neighbours in South Asia; review progress made over the past years and to identify and agree on the way forward. UNESCO and PILDAT disclosed that a draft declaration will be shared with the invited parties and after it is agreed, it will be signed and released at the end of the APC. PILDAT is also preparing Background Papers for the political leadership and Media to provide them some basic information about the key issues facing the ‘Education For All’ movement in Pakistan.


The organisers of the APC feel that the APC will be the appropriate forum to remind the political leadership of the country about the commitment made in Article 37-b of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan that ‘The State of Pakistan shall remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary education within minimum possible period’ and about Article 26 (1) of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which it has been declared that ‘Everyone has the right to Education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory …’


It may be noted that despite efforts, Pakistan suffers from one of the lowest Net Enrolment Ratio (68 %); Adult Literacy rate (50 %) and Gender Parity in primary education completion rate (76 females per 100 male students) in South Asia.


A Fact Sheet on the Conference and Statement of Director UNESCO Islamabad office for Media Briefing are attached.