By Amna Malik
Women are an important segment of society that has been greatly neglected in this part of the globe for far too long. The culture of tolerance and sacrifice that was once a strong character of our women has become a shackle in the post modern era. The expectations from them have raised many fold without them being empowered accordingly. How does half the population performs effectively without education and awareness? It is the basic and right of the citizens and the fundamental duty of the government to see that it materializes.
The current government, realizing its primary responsibility to empower the women has taken many initiatives that are working towards this goal. The recent visit of the Prime Minister along with the first lady and Maryam Nawaz to the US has been termed as a great success in this regard. Among other things, the issue of empowering the women of Pakistan through quality education needs to be highlighted for what it stands. Maryam Nawaz and Michelle Obama, the American first lady has joined together for the first time to make a difference in the lives of Pakistani women.
According to the initiative named ‘Let Girls Learn’ taken by the US president and first lady Michelle Obama, an investment of 70million dollars has been announced in this regard to promote girls education in Pakistan. This goes in accordance with the plan of the current regime for upgrading the current status of the girls by expanding the education infrastructure and opportunities that were hitherto denied to them by previous regimes as well as their guardians. Pakistani government has agreed to double spending for education, from 2 percent to 4 percent of GDP by 2018. Both the ladies realizing the importance of education delineated a roadmap that leads to the sure success of Pakistani women and society as a whole. This was materialized in an official meeting between both the ladies at the White House.
Previous initiatives taken by Maryam Nawaz have also been targeting the same issues. Many schemes had been initiated and launched so that women and girls could also participate in the economic activity of the state to bring prosperity to the country as well as their own homes. From among the millions of women in Pakistan, Maryam Nawaz being the chairperson of the Prime Minister’s Youth Program has actively worked towards opening opportunities for them to contribute actively in various professions including agriculture, industry, banks, telecommunication and marketing.
The initiative of giving easy loans to women in order to empower them is one such step that has been taken by Maryam Nawaz. Half of the loans have been demarcated for the women where they can apply in women related trades. Further, the need to promote entrepreneurial skills and also to provide them with vocational education and training through the youth skill development scheme provides ample evidence of the commitment of the government. By declaring this vast and large scale educational plan is in consonance with the idea of an education emergency in the country that had to be addressed.
The Prime Ministers education plan and reforms has spelled the need to revitalize the education system. The government aims to enroll every child in school by the year 2018. For this purpose there is a great network of associated machinery in work that ensures that every child be given an equal opportunity. Electronic tracking device, designed for both students and teachers would ensure optimal attendance and allow the authorities to be ware if something goes amiss. Geo-tagging of schools would help locate the school and help keep an eye upon its status.
A vast majority of girls remain out of schools for cultural reasons in almost every province. However the percentage may vary in different regions. Through this joint venture termed as LGL (Let Girl’s Learn), Maryam Nawaz has vowed to work for promotion of education in Pakistan that intend to benefit at least 200,000 young girls. This will be done by a multi pronged approach that aims to build new schools along with the plan of rehabilitation of hundreds of others. Provisions will also be made for their healthcare by providing them medical assistance along the journey. Also, Pakistan will enroll more girls in school and provide more female teachers in the schools and colleges.
Among the institutions that will be built through the LGL initiative will not only aim to impart conventional knowledge based education, but also skill based training. Further, in order to motivate more girls to pour in and to continue with their hard work, scholarships have been planned and will be given on merit. This, according to Michelle Obama, will provide the little underprivileged girls to fulfill their dreams. This will empower them to make their destiny, to become the doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs just like any girl in developed countries. They are going to be the girls that will one day raise healthier, more educated families of their own.
This shall be a major milestone in the lives of these girls and also in the global effort in promoting girls education, not only in Pakistan, but the world over. The US first lady has been calling out to the entire world community for this purpose. She is a strong supporter of girl’s education and has vowed to help all those who embark upon this journey asserting that, “I would be the first person to stand with them and celebrate that commitment.”
Maryam Nawaz emphasizing the government’s resolve affirms that the government is fully committed towards this sacred goal. According to the vision 2025 developed by the current regime, such policies are an integral part of its education goals. Thus, the LGL Pakistan is a part of the Global LGL program conceived and activated by the US President and the first Lady.
The commitment of Michelle Obama in this project needs to be lauded as she is the prime figure who thought of such a noble cause. She is among the most influential females and has inspired hundreds and thousands of girls all over the globe. Just the fact that she has launched the LGL initiative this year to help more than 60 million girls worldwide who don’t attend school and have asked world leaders to join the effort shows her determination towards this cause. I sincerely hope that every single Pakistani girl shall benefit from this venture and fulfill her dream to become an active and aware member of society. And be able to live independently with dignity and poise. Not live upon the crumbs thrown by others, but gather the courage and skill to carve a future for themselves where they shall be the protagonist of their own story.