PR No. 80 Islamabad: January 12, 2016

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Minister Planning, Development and Reform Prof Ahsan Iqbal has said an all-encompassing enrolment campaign will be launched this year to bring all children to schools in the next three years.He was chairing a meeting on the National Enrolment Drive here on Tuesday, which was attended by State Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Muhammad Balighur Rehman, Chairperson Higher Education Commission Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and senior officials. He instructed the provincial and federal officers concerned to prepare workable blueprint of the campaign prior to the final approval of the prime minister.Prof Ahsan Iqbal said in the coming months, a highly inspirational campaign for 100 per cent enrolment of children should be launched after conducting a proper study of infrastructural requirements and number of students. “A concerted and coordinated effort by all the stakeholders should be initiated so that the targeted enrolment can be achieved,” he said, while adding that the federal education ministry would spearhead the campaign and a consolidated national plan be prepared. He asked the provincial representatives to recruit more science teachers, and the ratio should be more than 50 per cent, and underlined the need to recruit fresh graduates. He observed that rationalisation of classrooms prior to enrolment of students must be carried out since the campaign could run the risk of having more students and less classrooms or vice versa. “A proper stocktaking of the requirement, development and future planning must be done,” he suggested. Balighur Rehman enumerated a few anomalies in the education infrastructure and its imbalanced development.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Tore Nedreba called on Federal Minister Planning, Development & Reform Ashan Iqbal here on today. They discussed the issues of mutual interest and cooperation between the two countries. They were of the view that bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and Norway is still below the real potential and can be increase through mutual economic cooperation and investment. Federal Minister Planning & Development Ahsan Iqbal said that enormous potential exists to increase bilateral trade volume and noted that there are many opportunities for Norwegian investors to invest in Pakistan particularly in telecom and energy sectors. Minister pointed out that Pakistan offers enormous opportunities to international investors in hydro and solar power and Norway can also benefit from these opportunities by encouraging its investors to invest in Pakistan. He said that country has also huge IT potential and would welcome Norway’s help in setting up the research facility in Pakistan to use talent and potential of IT entrepreneurs. Ahsan Iqbal also briefed the ambassador about reforms in education sector and said that Pakistan can learn from Norway’s experiences to reform its national curriculum to make it compatible with the contemporary needs. Minister also sought Norway’s assistance in making the Planning Commission of Pakistan a development think tank and believed that Norway’s experiences would help Pakistan in this regard. Ahsan Iqbal briefed Norwegian envoy about the economic turnaround made during the last two and half years and said that now the government is focussing more on growth through various initiatives to achieve over six percent growth rate annually. About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), minister said that it gave boost to economy. Under CPEC framework, physical infrastructure would be upgraded to improve regional connectivity as part of vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. About SDGs, Minister said that Pakistan took the lead to localize these SDGs even before signing of its charter in September last year when these were incorporated in Vision-2025 of present government, which is aimed at sustainable and inclusive economic and social development of the country. Norwegian Ambassador appreciated the economic recovery made during the last two years. He agreed with the minister that bilateral trade volume between two countries is below despite having the enormous potential. He assured that Norway would encourage its investors to invest in Pakistan in telecom, IT and energy sector.

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