Pakistan’s education minister welcomes Safe Schools Initiative
Children in conflicts, Safe schools
The Pakistan Safe Schools Initiative has been welcomed by the country’s education minister, who has vowed to do everything he can to ensure children can learn in safety.
Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman said A World at School’s 15-point plan “deserves accolades” and would help to “ensure substantive improvement for security of the schools”.
The initiative – launched on February 17 – is backed fully by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. They agreed to work together on a joint effort for the security and safety of schoolchildren and to appeal to donor governments, foundations and the business sector to finance the plan.
It was devised in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre in December and years of terrorist attacks on schools, students and teachers.
Mr Baligh ur Rehman, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training, said: “Pakistan has faced myriad issues of safety and security in schools. The schools are at the frontline in the war against terror since Pakistan has faced fatal attacks on educational institutions and demonstrated express resolve and resilience against the extremists.
“Despite the destruction of more than 1000 schools in Pakistan, our children are still in school and the government and people of Pakistan are committed to ensure education for each child.”
Mr Baligh ur Rehman said that – as well as the “gigantic challenges of access, equity, quality and governance” – the safety of school students was paramount. He said security was being beefed up and advocacy campaigns launched to “combat the menace of terrorism and evil”.
But he admitted a lot more had to be done and said the Safe Schools Initiative could have “a huge impact on the lives of millions of children”. He said it dovetailed best practices from around the world with lessons learned in Pakistan.