SAARC

SAARC region has made "great strides" to ensure education for all: Shahid

  • The foreign minister said this during the inauguration ceremony of the Third Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Education/Higher Education
  • "Gender disparity in primary education enrollment is still seen in some countries in the region"
  • "Maldives recognizes with pride that our first teachers are our mothers”

Aishath Shaany
Shaaknee

K. Male' 2019 Oct 10 | Thu 17:24 1,732 local

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid - Foreign Ministry

The South Asian region has mad “great strides” to ensure education for all but has challenging tasks ahead to reach the 2030 Education Agenda, says Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

Shahid said this during the inauguration ceremony of the Third Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Education/Higher Education, on Thursday.

Stressing that South Asia as a region “has witnessed remarkable progress in terms of education in the past two decades,” the minister highlighted the strides made to “ensure that the gates of education and knowledge is open to one and all, without discrimination.”

He noted the increased school enrollment percentages, raised number of student population that achieve excellence, our girls and women competing equally in schools and universities and reduction in out-of-school adolescents.

While the SAARC nations are to implement UNESCO’s Education 2030 agenda, which is part of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and refers to the global commitment of the Education for All movement to ensure access to basic education for all, Minister Shahid also spoke on the challenges to doing so.

Noting that the 2030 Agenda recognizes that gender equality is a pre-requisite for progress, Shahid said that gender disparity in primary education enrollment is still seen in some countries in the region.

“The disadvantage for girls in particular, is acute in some countries while extreme in others. As we take steps forward in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, an integrated approach to the advancement of women must be adopted. Women should be encouraged to reach their full potential with the same opportunities as their gender counterparts.”

~ Minister Shahid

He added that the Maldives recognizes “with pride that our first teachers are our mothers” and that the country owes “our women deep respect for lighting the candle of learning in us in our early years.”

In addition, the foreign minister stressed that incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration “places the utmost importance on the provision of education.”

“We believe that education is essential to attain the knowledge and skill sets to fully participate and contribute to the country’s economic and social development. Inclusive education policies that start from primary school age and equal opportunities for girls and boys have resulted in over 98 percent of school enrolment.”

~ Minister Shahid

He added that the Maldives “as a country with a young population, will continue to invest heavily in the academic future of our children and youth, and we hope to contribute to change the status quo of the region.”

To do so, Shahid said that Maldives is “in dire need of consolidated efforts” from all SAARC members, adding that the region “region has always been regarded as a region of great wealth and extraordinary potential.”

However, he said that SAARC “must become more dynamic, more forward-looking and strategic,” and called for a “political commitment, to achieve our ambitious targets for the 2030 Agenda, both nationally and regionally.”

“It is time for SAARC Member States to embrace the concept of regionalism fully and irrevocably”

~ Minister Shahid

Last updated at: 1 week ago | Reviewed by: Leevan Ali

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