The education sector in Punjab has received sustained and undivided attention championed by the Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, a passionate believer in the value of quality education as the singular driver for sustained social and economic transformation.
The Government of Punjab believing in the principle of progressive universalism for reaching all disadvantaged groups is daring to deliver the right to education for sustainable development through a comprehensive systems oriented strategy backed by regular evidence with accountability to understand what works and how to accelerate outreach to the last mile; where every child, youth and adult counts without discrimination.
In 2014, The Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act was passed to implement Article 25 of constitution of Pakistan in letter and spirit. Since then, there has been an extraordinary concurrent attention to uplift the state of education in the province. This has been made possible through preparing merit based, well paid and supported workforce; optimal employment of infrastructure, extending support to children, girls and youth in need, creating targeted and expanding social safety nets, arranging for stipends and scholarships. Higher allocation to education has been accompanied by deepening governance arrangements from school councils to District Education Authorities, and evidence based strategies for better performance.
These performance oriented actions have been dynamically complemented by innovations including expansion of public private partnerships through a growing portfolio and budget of the Punjab Education Foundation; expanding access and use of ICTs for learning, information sharing to monitoring; solarized schools; schools of excellence for the poorest (Danish Schools), free lap tops and now testing school nutrition program. With an ever-expanding budget and commitment to 100% utilization bearing high results, the challenge of learning/quality on the one hand and reaching ALL the children for right to education, SDG 4 equipped with 21st century and citizenship skills needs urgent and innovative attention.
“Reforming Education in Punjab: Achievements and Challenges” aims to provide the Government of Punjab an opportunity to showcase its best practices and achievements in education. It will also provide an opportunity to all stakeholders to create and nurture the new educational roadmap that shall be instrumental in raising the standards of education in the province. It will also allow stakeholders to share their contributions in devising strategies to address the challenges in the education sector.