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Pakistan's Education Emergency


When I was in primary school, I remember enjoying school so much that I couldn’t wait for each new day. I loved learning exciting new things and being able to socialise with my friends in and out of the classroom during the school day. Once I was back at home, I couldn’t wait to share all the fascinating things I learned with my parents and quiz them to see if they were as smart as I was.

“But Mommy, did you know that Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon?”

Of course I was slightly bitter when I discovered that although my mother was impressed by my knowledge, in fact she had also heard of Mr. Armstrong’s achievements.

Unfortunately, there are 7 million children in Pakistan who don’t get the chance to have these conversations with their parents at the end of the day, because they aren’t able to attend primary school. 3 million of them will never even see the inside of a classroom.

That means that of the world’s 67 million out-of-school children we discussed last week, roughly 1 in 10 of them live in Pakistan. And for those children who are in school, many of them suffer through overcrowded classrooms, dilapidated facilities, brutal or careless teachers and an overall failing education system.

The Pakistan Education Task Force has deemed this an “education emergency” and is working to ensure that March is the month that Pakistan talks about nothing but education. Well, and cricket.

They have launched the March for Education campaign to ring the alarm on the emergency and work to bring adequate education to all children in Pakistan. The campaign has marked 2011 as Pakistan’s Year of Education to create a national debate with these topics at the top of the political agenda.

The Issues
The March for Education website has a series of 1-minute videos describing the different issues that are creating this education emergency in Pakistan. They range from accessibility for poor families to a limited number of teachers.

However, you might be surprised to know that money is not what’s holding them back from achieving universal primary education. There are currently 26 countries poorer than Pakistan that send more of their children to primary school.

This is an issue of priorities. If the world is serious about achieving education for all by 2015, we have to make education a priority.

You can make a difference
We can all help make education in Pakistan a priority for politicians by signing the March for Education online petition to world leaders to end the education emergency.

Let’s speak up as a global community to let our leaders know that every child in Pakistan deserves the opportunity to go to school and to learn in a safe and conducive environment, and that the time to act is now.



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