Friday
14 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan calls for altering education to cater needs of young, growing population

Ambassador Munir Akram says developing countries are facing a triple crisis in education – of equity, quality and relevance

Pakistan’s permanent representative to United Nations Ambassador Munir Akram has called for transforming education to cater to the needs of the young and growing population, especially in the developing countries, in an effort to achieve quality education for all by 2030.

“Along with triple economic crisis of finance, fuel and food, the developing countries are also facing a triple crisis in education – of equity, quality and relevance,” he told the 56th session of the Commission on Population and Development which is taking place against the backdrop of a global learning crisis.

The ambassador underscored the need for addressing factors leading to denial of the right to education of children and youth, such as conflict, poverty, malnutrition, access to the internet and gender digital divide. He said that millions of children and youth living in situations of conflict and foreign occupation must not be forgotten, as also those with disabilities, migrants and other vulnerable groups.

‘Lifelong learning should be made available across age range, enhancing employment prospects by teaching transferable skills

Munir Akram said that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved, at the national and international level, without transforming education to cater to the needs of the young and growing population, especially in the developing countries. To achieve those goals, he urged the world’s nations, singly and collectively, to ensure universal access to quality education at all levels.

He said that investments in education was also needed to create awareness of environment and sustainable development and the demographic trends that impinge on the scarce resources. He said that the lifelong learning should be made available across the age range, especially in developing countries, enhancing their employment prospects by teaching transferable skills.

He said that the international community should provide technical and financial assistance for population data collection to developing countries, as financing was critical in bridging the digital and resource divide to deal with the education emergency. He said that the most important investment in creating a peaceful and inclusive world’s education – where every child, without discrimination, has equitable access to basic and quality education.

“This must be a key priority for all our nations, acting individually and collectively.” Highlighting transformative potential of education for individuals and their societies, UN Population Fund Executive Director Natalia Kanem asked delegates to imagine a girl standing at a fork in the road. “If she is able to stay in school, she’s well set on a path of lifelong health and well-being, but if she is forced to drop out of school, she will face a cascade of challenges.”

“UN Population Fund knows this girl,” she said, underscoring that better-educated women are healthier, marry later and are more likely to plan the number and spacing of children. She said that the education also reduces the likelihood of harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation and lowers risk of gender-based violence.

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