SDG 4 and its progress in Pakistan

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SDG 4 prioritizing equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. This goal has seven targets and three means for implementation, covering all levels of education; from early childhood, primary to secondary, technical vocational for decent jobs, and university through formal, non-formal and technology-enabled channels, conducive learning environments, adequacy of trained teachers and opportunities for scholarships to pursue continuous learning. While the federal and the provincial governments have been adopting a number of measures to uplift the status of education, there are still impediments that are keeping the masses from reaping the benefits. Pakistan needs extensive educational reform which must begin with a policy reform that tackles the chronic under-investment in the education sector. Adding to that, the government and the private sector must work as partners to provide quality education especially primary education to all school-going citizens. It is a long-term process that requires effort from each one of us as individuals too, to work towards a quality education system along with providing the youth with hope, our undivided attention, and unwavering belief in their potential. Education is not only crucial for mitigating the socio-economic issues, it is important for psychological reasons too as it helps to make you feel worthwhile, gives a boost to morale, and builds confidence and perseverance.

Fortunately, the Planning Commission has begun to engage provincial and development departments (P&DDs) that would serve as nodes leading to the formation of special units or SDG centers. But more important is working on the sustained capacity-building of those tasked with initiating and implementing actual work on approved development projects. Going forward, new models of public-private partnerships need to be tested. Policymakers should begin by proactively engaging the private sector, research universities, think-tanks and civil society, including professional associations. The SDGs are perhaps the best vehicle to lift more than 50 million people out of poverty when they earn less than two dollars a day by enriching their lives and livelihood options. Delivering on these goals will also help enhance Pakistan’s ability to emerge as one of the world’s leading economies and, while doing so, strengthen national security.

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