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Coronavirus pandemic: MPAs vow to promote, protect girls right to education

PESHAWAR: A number of KP Assembly members have vowed to promote and protect girls right to education and signed a consensual statement to reaffirm the commitment.

The statement was signed during the “Women Parliamentarians Conference on Girls Education”, jointly organized by a non-government organization Blue Veins and Women Parliamentary Caucus of the KP Assembly.

The KP Assembly members, both from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and opposition, believed that the socio-economic crises of coronavirus pandemic and the grave education disruption had put the spotlight on the need for safeguarding the education system for girls’ education in the future.

The chief guest, KP Assembly Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan said:” Policy and legal reforms around education and health are among the highest priorities of KP Assembly. All members of Provincial Assembly, irrespective of their party affiliations, are committed to addressing the issues and deep-rooted inequalities that prevent girls from fulfilling their right to education”.

Sumera Shams, Chairperson, Women Parliamentary Caucus and focal person of Chief Minister Social Reform Committee, said: “The PTI government is committed to investing in education with a particular focus on bringing more girls to education to make education accessible to the most marginalized learners of the society by allocating more financial resources to address all the challenges and make necessary provision for all missing facilities in education institutions”.

Members of the opposition parties, including Shgafuta Malik, Naeema Kishwar and Rehna Ismail, said that COVID-19 was negatively impacting girls’ health and well-being, adding the government should adopt innovative schemes to deal with the impact of COVID 19 on girl’s education.

Qamar Naseem, Programme Coordinator, Blue Veins, said: “The role of parliamentarians in ensuring for the girls’ education and the promotion of gender equality in education is critical. Therefore, it is important to develop a better understanding of the concept, providing a summary of the budget cycle process, discussing gender budgeting and examining the gender dimensions of parliamentary committees”.

The participants said the government should adopt equitable policies and strategies to promote gender-responsive actions and initiatives to meet the needs of girls’ access to education.

The KP government was asked to continue to allocate 70 per cent of its educational development budget for girls’ education for the fiscal year 2021-2022. There was a demand to the government to scale up social protection and adopt targeted coping strategies to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19 to help families prioritize girl’s education.

Given the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, a need was felt to support the provision of computing and cohesive infrastructure that supports the girls digital access to education.

The participants stressed the need to strengthen the monitoring of budgetary schemes for education to ensure effective allocation and spending of the education budget towards girls’ education.

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