Updated on 2003-06-11 17:47:27

EU Ambassador Begins NA Visit On Wednesday

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: June 11 (PNS) - Ambassador and Head of the European Commission Delegation in Pakistan, Ilkka Uusitalo, will visit Sakardu, Hunza Gilgit and Chitral from June 11 to 14. During his visit he will inspect and review the EU-sponsored projects in these areas. Uusitalo would be meeting the Chief Secretary of Northern Areas, Secretary Education of Northern Areas and the District Nazim of Chitral.

Last month, the EU approved a grant of Rs. 1.28 billion to support Aga Khan Foundation's Northern Pakistan Education Project (NPEP). This grant clearly indicates the key importance, the European Union gives to promotion of education in Pakistan.

This EU support is given in the context of the EC- Pakistan Economic and Development cooperation Programme. With approval of this new grant, the EU grant commitment to Pakistan now reach a new total over Euro 178.89 million (equivalent to 11.45 billion Pakistan Rupees). The purpose of the European Commission contribution towards the second phase of NPEP is to consolidate and build on progress made with EC support from 1997-2003.

In Northern Areas (NA) & Chitral (pop. 1.3 million) NPEP will work with government and communities, particularly females, in all districts. Increased access to primary, secondary and higher education will be given to females through community school buildings and centres and scholarships for secondary and higher education. Quality teacher training programmes will train at least 3,025 Head teachers and teachers.

The two Professional Development Centres in Gilgit, and Chitral will provide educational training and support research and policy dialogue. They will also deliver management and certificate courses for government officials as well as teachers. The programme will also respond to the increasing demand for education for girls and address some of the problems raised in stakeholder analyses through feedback, monitoring and evaluation of the earlier programmes in the area.

NPEP will work with the overall objective to improve the access, quality and sustainabiliy of education for all, with increased gender equity and the participation of communities. The project is a part of the European Commission's efforts to make a sustainable contribution to the education sector in Pakistan, and it will particularly target those communities that have benefitted the least from economic growth by granting them access to an acceptable standard of education.

The End.