ISLAMABAD: The Directorate of Education (DoE), Government of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan (AKF, P) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for mutual collaboration and coordination with the objective of achieving the vision of the Gilgit-Baltistan Education Strategy (GBES) 2015-2030. The signing ceremony took place at the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Office in Islamabad in the presence of Mr. Rana Muhammad Saleem Afzal, Secretary Education, Department of Education, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr. Majeed Khan, Director General Education, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan and Afzal Khan, Deputy Director, MIS, Department of Education, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan. Mr. Iqbal Walji, Chairman National Committee AKF, Pakistan, Mr. Akhtar Iqbal, Chief Executive Officer, AKF, Pakistan, Mr. Shakoor Muhammad, Director Education, AKF, Pakistan and other members from Aga Khan Development Network and Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan also participated in the signing ceremony.
Secretary Education, Department of Education, Government of Gilgit Baltistan, Mr. Rana Muhammad Saleem said, “Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan and other AKDN agencies have rendered valuable services for education improvement in Gilgit-Baltistan. The holistic approach that includes the provision of the enabling environment for the child to learn has been providing remarkable results. He emphasised on working together with AKF on the implementation plan of the Gilgit Baltistan Education Strategy and including IT skills and entrepreneurship opportunities for the students in future.
Whilst talking about the importance of education and early childhood care, Chairman National Committee AKF, Pakistan, Mr. Iqbal Walji said, “Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan has been working in close partnership with the government departments of education in Gilgit-Baltistan for decades. This has helped in implementing a comprehensive Education Improvement Programme (EIP) to improve schools and children’s learning in remote, marginalised and fragile areas of Gilgit-Baltistan through hub and spokes model. He also noted the importance of Early Childhood Development as it aims to foster development of formative skills for young children which in turn ensures they become productive in their later life. The agreement will strengthen the collaboration between the Department of Education, AKF, Pakistan and its sister AKDN agencies whose work relates to early childhood care, education, and development.” The Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan, Mr. Akhtar Iqbal emphasised on the long-term commitment of AKDN to education in the region and gave example of the first school in Gwadar that was established in 1905. He highlighted the importance of girls’ education and expressed an interest to work more with the government on promoting girls’ education in different areas of GB. He noted that the MoU will serve the purpose of an overarching agreement for all Education and ECD related programmes continuing or to be initiated in agreement with the Education Department, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan. The joint efforts will facilitate partnerships with agencies and organisations at all levels, and share mutual learning, publish, and disseminate the impact and outcomes of programmes and research.