The News
Islamabad News
Tuesday May 06, 2003
-- Rabi-ul-Awwal 03, 1424 A.H.
ISSN 1563-9479

EC okays 20m euro grant for AKF

ISLAMABAD: The European Commission (EC) has approved 20 million euros (approximately Rs 1.28 billion) grant for Pakistan's educational development, to be undertaken by Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKFP) over the next five years.

The grant aims at improving access, quality and sustainability of education for in-school and out-of-school children, with increased gender equity and the participation of communities in the Northern Areas and Chitral (NAC).

Federal Minister for Education Zobaida Jalal will be the chief guest at the signing ceremony, which will be held at the Ministry of Education here on Tuesday (today) where Head of the EU Delegation of the European Commission of Pakistan Ilkka Uusitalo will also be present.

The project 'Northern Pakistan Education Programme' will be implemented by the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKESP) in the NAC region from May 9, 2003. Its objectives complement the priorities of the government's education sector reforms, including teacher development, better educational management, enhanced community participation, increasing access and retention, quality improvement, and institutional capacity building for the government systems.

The project specifically responds to the increasing demand for quality education for girls and will try to fill the gender gap in education in the NAC region. It will also contribute to socio-economic development by increasing the number of educated adults and by widening the scope of employment.

This will be achieved by increasing access to schools through building classrooms, setting up coaching centres and non-formal education centres; improving teachers' training, building professional capacity and course and material development.

The two Professional Development Centres (PDCs), based in Gilgit and Chitral, will provide professional training, certificate courses and advanced diplomas in primary education for teachers and managers in government, NGO and community schools.

The AKESP is amongst the largest non-profit private education network of institutions in Pakistan, providing education to over 35,000 students, 75 per cent of which are in rural areas and the rest mostly in underprivileged urban areas.

The AKESP currently operates 177 schools in the NAC region, providing education to about 25,000 students, 60 per cent of which are girls.

It also has a number of educational development programmes, covering teachers' training and quality improvement in rural Sindh and Balochistan, besides the NAC region.