LAHORE - Renowned English weekly The Economist has highlighted the role of educational reforms, adopted by the Punjab Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The newspaper has lauded the role of Shahbaz Sharif in improving access and quality of education, as well as to ensure that children from all segments of the society get educational opportunities through Punjab Education Foundation.

PEF is an autonomous statuary body under the Punjab government and working in public private partnership with more than five thousand low-cost private schools in all the 36 districts in Punjab and catering to educational needs of two million needy children. The detailed story ‘Low-cost private schools learning unleashed’ takes full view of educational scenario in Pakistan, India, Mexico and Nigeria.

In this story, The Economist reports that Shahbaz Sharif is committed to ensure 100 percent enrolment of all the children by 2018. For this purpose, it has been decided that all new schools will be opened through Punjab Education Foundation so that the targets can be achieved well in time, it adds. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has been termed as “energetic” and a new standard-bearer for market-based educational reforms in the Punjab where Government is helping private sector to expand.

The story mentions that PEF is educating about two million needy children and the number will rise to 2.8 million by the year 2018. It is worthwhile that this is the second time that PEF has been projected as a case study by this reputed international weekly.

The story also includes a brief interview of PEF Managing Director Dr Aneela Salman about how this foundation is changing lives of thousands of needy children through education.

Dr Aneela told The Economist that one free educational scheme helps the entrepreneurs to set up new schools particularly in rural areas so that needy children in such remote and far-flung areas could easily access it. Through another program, educational vouchers are issued to parents mostly living in slums to send children, who are not in schools, to PEF sponsored schools.

She added that funding for all the students was being provided under another PEF sponsored free educational program.