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'Three million children to be enrolled in schools until 2015'

21 November, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Approximately three million out-of-school children would be enrolled until 2015 under the recently passed National Assembly (NA) bill on compulsory child education, said Parliamentary Forum on Child Rights (PFCR) chairperson Rubina Saadat.

"The government is endeavouring to achieve the target of universalisation of primary education and according to the bill, education is a compulsory right of every child between the age of five and 16 years," Rubina said at a ceremony to launch a national campaign on children's rights.

The ceremony was organised at Pakistan National Council of Arts in connection with Universal Children's Day.

Rubina said the project has been launched under the Waseela-e-Taleem project of Banazir Income Support Programme. She said work was ongoing to prepare a multi-purpose strategy to promote "child-friendly" environment in the country.

She said that health, education, securing safe environment and sharing best practices for children would be among key targets of the project.

"We are working to make Pakistan a child-friendly country," she said.

Students of Roots School System also presented a play to highlight issues facing children and hardships faced by their out-of-school fellows hailing from deprived families.

Children also expressed their views through speeches on the occasion and said that separate budget should be allocated for children's rights to secure future of younger generation.

They also called for increasing education budget and provision of free books, besides including child rights in curriculum so that children could be aware of their rights.

Khurram Ali Raza, a child from Sweet Homes Pakistan, an orphanage project working under Pakistan Baitul Maal, also presented a speech on the occasion and amazed the audience with his confidence and views.

A Roots School student Naha, in her speech, said educating a boy is educating an individual and educating a girl means educating a family.

She called for giving special attention to girls' education and stated that girls' education would help families get rid of poverty and best utilise their resources.

"Children are the most precious asset of the country but unfortunately they are most vulnerable," she said.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Minister for National Regulation and Services Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan, Minister for National Heritage and Integrity Samina Khalid Ghurki, Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division Nazar Muhammd Gondal, Pakistan Baitul Maal chairperson Zamurd Khan, parliamentarians, representatives of United Nations organisations, civil society representatives, government officials and a large number of children attended the ceremony.

End.

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