February 11, 2014
Signing ceremony in Progress
Islamabad, 11 February, 2014: The Government of Japan decided to build around 30 elementary-middle schools for girls in the rural areas of southern Sindh Province.
H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Ms. Nargis Sethi, Secretary of Economic Affairs Division (EAD), signed today an official agreement for Japan to provide a grant up to 808 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 829 million or US$ 7.85 million), in order to implement "the Project for Upgrading Primary Girls Schools into Elementary Schools in Southern Rural Sindh."
During today's signing ceremony, Ambassador Inomata pointed out that, in the rural areas of Sindh Province, only 7% of girls between age 10 and 12 are enrolled in schools because there is not enough number of girls' schools at the elementary-middle level. After the completion of this new project, additional 2400 girls will be accommodated in the elementary-middle schools. Mr. Inomata said "the main objective of this project is to improve access to basic education for girls." and "this will help Pakistan achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)."
Expanding education opportunities has clearly been one of Japan's development priority areas in Pakistan. According to Mr. Inomata, Japan has built around 530 schools so far in various parts of Pakistan since the commencement of Japan's official development assistance (ODA) program in Pakistan in 1954. This year 2014 marks 60th anniversary of Japan's ODA in Pakistan.
Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, recently made a global commitment to implement ODA program worth more than US$ 3 billion over the next three years to create "a society in which women shine." Ambassador Inomata clearly indicated that this new project for Sindh is a part of Mr. Abe's commitment.
Mr. Inomata emphasized the importance of promoting girls' education in any society by saying "the more women are educated, the more their children are likely to get basic healthcare services and education." He expressed his strong wish that girls to be educated in the new schools in Sindh would take leading roles in Pakistani society in future. In reply, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, Ms. Sethi expressed its sincere appreciation for Japan's efforts in promoting education in Pakistan in the past and present.
According to Mr. Ken Kato, Senior Representative of JICA Pakistan Office, this new project will add around 30 elementary-middle schools for girls in rural areas of six districts in Sindh, namely Hyderabad, Badin, Tandooallahyar, Jamshoro, Nawbshah and Mirpurkhas. Mr. Kato requested the Sindh Government to provide consistent educational service such as sufficient teacher deployment to the new schools, so that the new project will be able to achieve its goal as planned.