Australia-based Pakistani youth bring education initiative to KP

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Australia-based Pakistani youth have planned to promote peace through education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in this connection they are setting up the first school of their project in Peshawar in March for imparting quality education to the children whose parents couldn’t afford it. With the help of their other partners they also plan to open more schools in KP and other parts of the country.


Young Pakistan Association of Australia (YPA) has joined hands with Peshawar Youth Organisation (PYO) for the promotion of peace through education and they have resolved to provide quality education to socially and economically disadvantaged children of the conflict-ravaged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


Housed in a rented building in Gulbahar locality here, the association will launch its maiden project with a school which will have linkages with Australian schools through internet that will prove a landmark for the local students, who will benefit for incurring no cost. Classes would commence from March 15 and around 200 children would be admitted in the first batch.


Pakistani Consul-General in Sydney, YPA and Raising Hope Education Foundation are the partners of the project.


Schools to be set up in Peshawar, other districts to promote peace through education

Slogan of these young Pakistanis is “Learning in unity today, leading in harmony tomorrow,” who believe that KP has been ravaged by conflict and violence. Inauguration ceremony of the project was held here on Saturday, which was attended by members of the associations, students, parents, parliamentary leader of Awami National Party Sardar Hussain Babak and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Zareen Zia.


Ironically, minister for elementary and secondary education Mohammad Atif and officials of his department were absent from the function. “Representatives of the government might have no time to spare from their sit-in in Islamabad to attend this function. The government accorded priority to the sit-in,” said an organiser of the function while expressing his displeasure over the absence of the education department officials.


The moving spirit behind this ambitious project is an Australian Francis Ventura, who is coordinator of the programme and volunteered himself for the plan. “Establishment of the school will be a turning point in the history of Peshawar and will prove a game changer for the city,” he said while speaking on the occasion.


“We are delighted at the support we have been getting from PYO to promote peace through education that encourages interfaith harmony, empowers girls, and builds connections between the people of Pakistan and Australia,” he remarked.


He said that if more young people in the region could receive a good education, goals such as gender equality and social cohesion – critical pillars of peace and development – stand a better chance of being achieved.


Assistant country director of The Peshawar School for Peace Syeda Aleina Shah said that aim of the programme was to provide opportunity of quality education to those children who could not afford international standard education. She said that special syllabus had been designed for the school, which had been divided into two parts. “First part of the curricula comprises seven basic subjects being taught to children across the country. The second part comprises extra curricula through which skill of leadership, career counselling, behavioural sciences and other subjects,” she said, adding that schools in KP would be connected with institutions in Australia.


She said that five schools would be established in different districts of KP by end of 2016 and more branches would be opened in other districts of the province by end of 2017. She said the programme would be extended to Balochistan after covering KP.


Mr Babak said that militants had targeted education sector during the last few years and hundreds of schools and other education institutions were destroyed in KP and Fata. He assured full support of his party to the organisers of the programme.


Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2014