National forum for education sector, Inter Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference (IPEMC) held its 10th meeting, hosted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, here on Wednesday. The two-day conference is being chaired by Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training, Engr. Baligh ur Rehman and has representation from all provinces and federating units through respective education ministers and secretaries. The conference will entail discussions and decisions on various subjects including non-formal education system; private education system, their regulation and fee structure; reforms and mainstreaming of deeni madaris; and reforms in assessment and examination system.

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pervez Khattak, who was chief guest at the inaugural session of the conference, said that we should work to counter class segregated education system and provide equitable learning opportunity for rich and poor. “We need to raise the standard of public sector schools to be at par with best private schools so much so that they become preferred choice for students”, he said. For improving the quality of education, he said, KP government is working to improve teacher-to-students ratio, discourage teacher transfers and introduce rewards and punishment system in the education sector. “We are also striving to achieve 100% provision of missing facilities in schools by this year”, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training, Engr. Baligh ur Rehman said that future of our children is linked to provision of accessible and quality education, which as per constitution is responsibility of the State. “All provinces and federating units of the country need to work collectively for improving prospects of education sector in the country; this forum having country wide representation provides the impetus and opportunity for collaboration in this regard”, he said. “Post devolution, importance of this forum increases many fold in order to set the way forward and ensure concerted efforts at national level”, he added.

Minster further said that consensus based decisions help achieve across the board and smooth implementation. “National Curriculum Council, assigned with the task to review and revise national curriculum has representation of all provinces and is functioning under the consensus developed through this forum; it has already finalized minimum national education standards in seven broad areas”, he added. Minister also announced that the government is in the process of establishing two teachers training institutes in the capital; one for conventional education and other for non-formal education and adult literacy. The teachers training institute for non-formal education and adult literacy is planned to be built in collaboration with UNESCO and would serve the entire region. Reaffirming confidence in the forum, Minister said that as provinces share experiences and achievements with each other, it offers mutual learning opportunities and an environment of healthy competition.

In his welcome address, Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Muhammad Atif Khan highly acknowledged the significance of IPEMC and said that the concept of national collaborative working necessitates effective functioning of such forums. “Particularly after the devolution of subject of education to provinces, this forum is immensely fruitful for sharing best practices among provinces and ensuring betterment of the sector nationwide”, he said. “It was through the efforts of Minister of State, Baligh ur Rehman that this forum was reactivated in 2014”, he added. He also informed participants about the recent approval of Private School regulatory Authority Bill by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also formally launched the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan 2015-16 to 2019-20 on the occasion.