PR No. 146National Consultative Conference Was Held On Sdgs (Sustainable Development Goals) At Margala Hotel, Islamabad Today. Islamabad: December 15, 2015

Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Egr Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman said that these SDGs are human centric goals for each and every person on this planet earth. Realizing the importance of these goals our government has adopted these goals as National Development Goals. It must be mentioned here that these goals are not thrust upon us but they were adopted after exhaustive consultation with all the stakeholders. Further he said that SDG 4 not just deals with the education but the quality education so we should keep this important point in mind while implementing them.

Unfortunately we were not able to achieve MDGs, reasons for that are many starting from the lack of continuity of the policies, successive changes in the governments, and many such other reasons, lamented the Minister. But this time we are determined to implement these goals in true letter and spirit. Prime Minister of Pakistan is taking keen interests in SDGs. We have already started working on these goals, for that we have established a cell for SDGs in the ministry. We have also constituted a 4 members (each from four provinces) committee for that purpose. These goals are not to be realized by the government and ministry of federal education only, it is for everyone to realize the importance of these goals. Schools, teachers, educationists, and media etc could play a significant role in the implementation of these goals and could help government in this regard.

Education is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and essential for the success of all SDGs. Recognizing the important role of education, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights education as a stand-alone goal (SDG 4) and also includes targets on education under several other SDGs, notably those on health; growth and employment; sustainable consumption and production; and climate change. In fact, education can accelerate progress towards the achievement of all of the SDGs and therefore should be part of the strategies to achieve each of them.

To achieve SDG 4 on education and the education targets included under other SDGs, it will be necessary to mobilize national, regional and global efforts that are aimed at: · achieving effective and inclusive partnerships; · improving education policies and the way they work together; · ensuring highly equitable, inclusive and quality education systems for all; · mobilizing resources for adequate financing for education; · ensuring monitoring, follow-up and review of all targets. Building on the lessons of EFA (Education for All) and the MDGs, states should invest in and scale up innovative, evidence-based and cost-effective approaches that enable all individuals to gain access to, participate in, learn through and complete a quality education, with a special focus on those who are the hardest to reach in all contexts. In addition, indicative strategies specific to each target are described under the targets.

Our vision is to transform lives through education, recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development and in achieving the other proposed SDGs. We commit with a sense of urgency to a single, renewed education agenda that is holistic, ambitious and inspirational, leaving no one behind. This new vision is fully captured by the proposed SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and its corresponding targets. It is transformative and universal, attends to the ‘unfinished business’ of the EFA (Education for all) agenda and the education-related MDGs, and addresses global and national education challenges.

Inclusion and equity in and through education is the cornerstone of a transformative education agenda, and we therefore commit to addressing all forms of exclusion and marginalization, disparities and inequalities in access, participation and learning outcomes. We are committed to supporting gender-sensitive policies, planning and learning environments; mainstreaming gender issues in teacher training and curricula; and eliminating gender-based discrimination and violence in schools. We commit to quality education and to improving learning outcomes, which requires strengthening inputs, processes and evaluation of outcomes and mechanisms to measure progress. We will ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.

The fundamental responsibility for successfully implementing this agenda lies with governments. We are determined to establish legal and policy frameworks that promote accountability and transparency as well as participatory governance and coordinated partnerships at all levels and across sectors, and to uphold the right to participation of all stakeholders. We call for strong global and regional collaboration, cooperation, coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the education agenda based on data collection, analysis and reporting at the country level, within the framework of regional entities, mechanisms and strategies. It is also clear that the aspirations encompassed in the proposed SDG 4 cannot be realized without a significant and well-targeted increase in financing, particularly in those countries furthest from achieving quality education for all at all levels. We therefore are determined to increase public spending on education in near future.

In the end Minister of State said it is just the beginning, we all need to gear up to work for these goals from today onwards. He added that provincial dialogues will b held soon as the education is the devolved subject now and it is our duty to take each province on board.

It was a daylong conference with panel discussions and consultative dialogues on quality education and SDGs 4.

Conference was attended by Federal Secretary Education, Additional Secretary Education, Joint Education Advisor, Chairman AIOU, Provincial Secretaries, provincial educational officials, donor agencies, partners, representatives of UNESCO, UNICEF, ITA, ASER, GIZ and many others.