Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Education (Pakistan)

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th June 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle 11:30 am, 24th June 2009

What recent steps his Department has taken to support projects to increase literacy amongst girls in Pakistan.

Watch this
Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website

Hide

Photo of Michael Foster Michael Foster Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development

My Department has set aside a total of £250 million over five years to improve education in Pakistan. We are designing programmes in North West Frontier province, Punjab and Balochistan that will increase girls' access to school and improve both their literacy and their numeracy. We are already financing stipends so that 300,000 girls in North West Frontier province can attend school, and the same programme is providing text books for 4.3 million girls and boys.

Watch this

Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle

That is marvellous, and we applaud the Government for their action, but does it not make you weep, Mr. Speaker, that Pakistan spends 60 per cent. of its budget on defence and 11 per cent. on education, and that 42 per cent. of women and girls are illiterate? What can we do to persuade Pakistan to change its warped sense of priorities whereby more money is spent on guns than on education?

Watch this

Photo of Michael Foster Michael Foster Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development

My hon. Friend is right to point out that Pakistan's education spending of just 2.4 per cent. of GDP is among the lowest in the world. He is also right to point out that if we are serious about tackling poverty and social exclusion and dealing with the grievances that lead to insecurity, education must play a central role. [ Interruption. ]

Watch this

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Members Estimate Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. Far too many private conversations are taking place. Members asking questions should be heard, and so should Ministers answering them.

Watch this

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury

After the earthquake in Kashmir, we raised enough money in Banbury to build a whole new girls' school in the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir. However, like Mr. Prentice, I weep, because, notwithstanding assurances from the Ministry, the problems caused by the machinery of government in Islamabad with the adoption of the school were very depressing. Whatever development aid we give Pakistan, we must make it clear to its Government that unless they sort out some fundamental machinery of government issues and make basic joined-up government work, none of that aid will be of any real long-term benefit.

Watch this

Photo of Michael Foster Michael Foster Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development

I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of governance, or about the role of Government in helping donors such as the United Kingdom to get their support on to the ground to meet the needs of the people whom both he and I want to help.

Watch this