Majority of Pakistanis moderate; media perception imperfect: Thomson
ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson Tuesday said that vast majority of Pakistanis were moderate and what is shown on television was not the complete story about Pakistan. “We in the High Commission have been working hard to getting policy-makers in London and elsewhere understand that what they see on television screens is not the whole story about Pakistan,” said the UK High Commissioner in an interview with Radio Pakistan. He said the UK was working in a big way to help Pakistan get more children into schools and train English language teachers and they were heavily engaged with the Punjab and KPK and private sector in Sindh to increase school enrollment.
The High Commissioner said the UK helped Punjab Government bring an extra 1.5 million children into primary schools during the last three years and was working closely to realize the target of universal primary education in the province by 2018.
He said the British Council was working closely and would extend cooperation to KPK and Sindh to train over 300,000 teachers of English language.
He said the UK was helping build 20,000 class rooms by 2015 in Pakistan. However, it was for Pakistan’s government and its people to ensure that militants are not allowed to shut these schools and prevent girls from attending educational institutions, he remarked.
To a question, the British High Commissioner said the United Kingdom had wonderful partnership with the previous and present Punjab Government and the present KPK Government too was heavily engaged in education sector.
He said the UK was persuading other international donors to contribute towards promotion of education in Pakistan and that there was challenge in Sindh but with the help of private sector they have set up an Education Fund to help children attend schools. Presently, the number is 30,000 but it was fast growing, he added.
Replying to another question, he said Pakistan’s spending on education was amongst the least in the world; however, the challenge was how to manage the money effectively.
Adam Thomson said Punjab’s roadmap for education was best example of monitoring the programme, focusing whether children were coming to schools and the schools have the necessary facilities.
He said since inception of this roadmap, attendance of teachers in government schools had increased from 81% in 2010 to 93% today.
He said Pakistani graduates in UK were contributing to high quality research for the benefit of UK as well as for themselves. Britain has more Pakistanis studying there than the Chinese, Indians or Americans if population proportion is taken into consideration, he added.
About the grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by European Union, he said the United Kingdom lobbied for Pakistan and said the country was close to a final decision by the EU Parliament on the subject.