ISLAMABAD : The European Commission (EC) has approved Euro 20 million (approximately Rs. 1,280 million) grant for Pakistan's educational development, to be undertaken by Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKFP) over the next five years.
The grant mainly 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), a highly placed source said here MOnday.
Federal Minister of Education, Ms. Zobaida Jalal will be the chief guest at the signing ceremony, which will be held at the Ministry of Education here today (Tuesday) at the Pak Secretariat.
Also gracing the occasion will be His Excellency, ILKKA UUSITALO, Head of the European Union Delegation of the European Commission of Pakistan.
The project, "Northern Pakistan Education Programme (NPEP)" will be implemented by the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKESP) in the NAC region from May 9, 2003.
Its objectives complement the government's education sector reforms' priorities, 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 teacher training, building professional capacity and co! urse and materials development.
The two Professional Development Centres (PDCs), based in Gilgit and Chitral, will provide professional training, certificated courses and Advanced Diplomas in Primary Education for teachers and managers in government, NGO and community schools.
AKESP is amongst the largest non-profit private networks of education institutions in Pakistan. It provides education to over 35,000 students, 75% of whom are in rural areas and the rest mostly in underprivileged urban areas. AKESP currently operates 177 schools in the NAC region, providing education to about 25,000 students of whom 60% are girls. AKESP also has a number of educational development programmes, covering teacher training and quality improvement in rural Sindh and Balochistan, besides the NAC region.