KARACHI                -            Federal Minister for Education, Professional Training and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mehmood on Friday said that introducing a uniform syllabus in the country was a challenge for the government.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 11th Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) here, he stressed, “Education needs to be uniform throughout the country with equal opportunities of learning for all. The maderessah education has long been neglected while government schools have been suffering from the lack of quality education. Therefore, only the students who have studied at elite private English-medium schools dominate the employment opportunities due to advanced system of learning and syllabus.”

He further said that three-tiered education had their respective curriculums and recognition. “While the system of education catering to the requirements of elite class has got international certification, the system of education at seminaries is still struggling to get recognition,” the minister regretted.

He said that 22 million children in the country were out of schools today. “Around 75 percent of children cannot even read despite five years of education,” Shafqat said, and cited poverty as one of the main reasons of out-of-school children.

“The present government has allocated Rs10 billion for skill development at school level to discourage absenteeism,” he said, and added, “This time HEC has awarded record 50,000 undergraduate scholarships.”

While speaking about the importance of literary festivals, the minister said that such events should also be introduced at district level to make these all inclusive. “Literary festivals will have healthy effects on the minds of young people,” he opined.

In the end, federal minister congratulated the Oxford University Press on organising 11th edition of KLF.