KP spending 4 pc of GDP on education: Iftikhar

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Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Minister for Information, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has said that provincial government has spent ‘four percent’ of provincial GDP on education which is the highest in the country.

The minister was speaking at the launching ceremony of baseline studies organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)  here on Friday.

He said that education is a priority on the agenda of ANP government, which considers it essential for social and economic development. “Besides constructing new school, the government has heavily invested on training and capacity building of teachers in the provinces. In higher education, we have established eight new universities increasing the number of universities to eighteen,” he added.

He also talked on basic education and added that ANP government has introduced basic education in mother tongue. The education in Pashtu language has been implemented whereas work on Hindku, Seraiki, and Chitrali is going on, he added.

He said that developed world has progressed through democracy and it is vital to strengthen democratic process through creating political awareness in population and strengthening democratic values. He deplored that politicians in the country are unduly ridiculed and there is need to change such attitude. He also urged on building people’s capacity to actively participate in political process, especially the women’s participation.

About the security situation, development and political process, he said that there is strike contrast in people’s priorities these days as earlier people demanded for education, health and livelihood but now their only concern is provision of security. Giving details of ANP government work on security he said that government has doubled the number of police force from 40,000 to 80,000 with substantial increase in salaries, modern equipment, a compensation of 3 million for each shaheed and other benefits their families.

Briefing on the launch of baseline studies and AAWAZ programme, Irina Mosel, Technical Specialist, AAWAZ, SDPI said that AAWAZ is a five-year voice and accountability programme which seeks to strengthen democratic processes in Pakistan by making it more open, inclusive and accountable to citizens. She informed that programme is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK and managed by leading civil society organizations in Pakistan. 

Sharing findings of baseline study on women political participation, Safwan Aziz said that despite clear acknowledgment of women rights in constitution, women participation in political process is negligible. 

He argued that women’s political participation is largely determined by male support, basic education, and knowledge of political activities, availability of resources, and a safe, secure and supportive community environment. 

He said that suspension of the Local Governance system has been a major impediment to women’s political participation at grassroots level. The study also provided evidence that violence against women is considered socially acceptable, and women are expected to withstand all kinds of physical and psychological violence without complaining.

Fayyaz Yasin of SDPI presented findings of baseline study on status of public service delivery in KP and Punjab. He shared some of the study recommendation which emphasizes on creation of entry points for people to share their feedback on public services delivery by government departments.

Hamza Abbas of SDPI apprised on the finding of study on alternate dispute resolution mechanisms in Pakistan. The study came up with the findings that urban population prefers formal dispute resolution forums whereas people in rural communities consider informal dispute resolution mechanisms such as Jirga’s and Panchayat’s as more effective. 

The study recommends identification of gaps in these mechanisms and advocate for improvements in accordance with the laws of the lands and international commitments of the state.