November 16, 2016
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
Building on the MDGs, the SDGs hope to bridge the development gap all the while keeping in mind that development be self-sustaining. This factor is never clearer than for Goal 4 of the SDGs for Quality Education which calls for all countries to “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” . In the case of Pakistan, this also includes the completion of the MDGs and the EFA targets, all of which were the focus of a workshop ITA recently conducted in Peshawar on the 10th of November.
With this workshop ITA aimed to elucidate the urgency for action in the provinces and the center about their responsibilities regarding the SDG 4. Our workshop was attended by youth activists from universities, educationists from KP and headmasters of government Schools. The session was inaugurated by Provincial Coordinator KP Afzal Shah, who introduced ITA briefly. After an ice breaking session with the participants, Shafaq Malik presented on the current state of education in Pakistan, highlighting the most recent literacy rate as well as the findings of the recent GEM report that projected that Pakistan would meet its SDG 4 target in 2062 if current trends are to be monitored.
In addition to this, the role of the 18th Amendment and the devolution of education was discussed and the with regard to the National Education Policy of 2009 which currently functions as live document in consultation with provincial education ministries. During the brainstorming session, this discussion on policy led to a heated debate between the participants regarding the difference between the clarity of language within existing legal documents and discrepancies in the implementation of policy.
Furthermore, while discussing Article 25(a) the participants addressed concerns over the rules for implementation that needed to be addressed by each province, especially KP which has yet to codify this law. The participants reached a consensus that in order to monitor progress towards SDG4 fact-finding needed to be carried out by provincial governments first and foremost in order to prioritize the implementation of Article 25(a)