PM urges expats to donate generously

-Launches tele-school channel to educate children of far-flung areas

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Overseas Pakistanis should donate generously in the ‘PM Relief Fund for COVID-19’ to aid the government in the battle against ongoing health crisis in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged on Monday.
In a video message released earlier today, the prime minister noted that the entire world is struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown has adversely affected the world economy, resulting in growing poverty across the globe, especially in developing countries like Pakistan, he remarked. The prime minister urged overseas Pakistanis to help their brethren in need. “Donate generously and help the government win this war against corona[virus],” he said.
Earlier, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari had met PM Imran to discuss the initiative. A special online portal has also been launched, through which expats can easily donate up to $35 or more for Pakistan. The amount can be donated on a monthly basis as well.
Additionally, as a token of appreciation, the authorities have also decided to publish the names of donors on the website to encourage the spirit of generosity and national responsibility. Pakistan has allocated Rs150 billion to provide relief to those worst affected by the lockdown. A cash grant of Rs12,000 will be given to over 12 million families across the country after registration and screening under the government’s Ehsaas programme.
PM Imran had on Sunday appealed to world leaders, heads of financial institutions, and the United Nations to “launch an initiative that will give debt relief to developing countries to combat the coronavirus”.
In a televised address, PM Imran said his appeal came on the back of developing countries’ problems, such as high debt-to-GDP ratios, which Pakistan also faces.
He said that his primary concern was that the poor should not die of hunger due to necessary lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Apart from containing the virus and dealing with the economic crisis, our biggest worry now is the people dying of hunger,” he said. “The dilemma on one side [is] stopping people dying from the virus [and] on the other hand, preventing deaths from hunger as a result of the lockdown.”
The premier said another problem the developing world faces is “a huge discrepancy in the resources available” to developing and developed nations.
While the United States, Germany, and Japan have come up with relief packages of $2.2 trillion, €1 trillion, and $1 trillion, respectively, the maximum stimulus Pakistan could afford for a population of 220 million is $8 billion, he noted.
“This is the issue with most of the developing world, especially the developing world that’s suffering from a very high debt-to-GDP ratio,” PM Imran added, noting that “these highly-indebted countries” now face the problem of a lack of fiscal space.Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched Tele School Television Channel and said the government would utilize all its resources to improve the channel.
He maintained the channel would also benefit children living in far-flung areas.
Speaking at the launching ceremony here, the prime minister said the aim of the initiative was to provide education to children at their doorsteps during the lockdown situation.
Terming it a great concept particularly in remote areas of the country where there was no infrastructure for primary education, he said the initiative should be continued after the end of coronavirus disease.
The prime minister congratulated the ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and Pakistan Television for collaborating in launching of the channel and said it was a revolution in the present situation as the whole world was heading toward distance education.
The prime minister said that there were complaints of below standard education in government schools in remote areas of the country and also referred to a number of such complaints in his home constituency Mianwali.
He said the tele school television channel was a productive opportunity for the parents and said the step would also help out the large number of children who had been dropped out of schools.
He said Pakistan was lagged behind in tele education and tele medicines and said through this system and mobile phones adult education would also be promoted.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood said around 20 million children in Pakistan were out of schools and during the last 70 years Pakistan’s literacy was just 60 percent, in which those people had also been included literate who could just write their name.
He said in the present critical situation this was a great opportunity as it would help the people in getting education through their mobile phones. He said by developing such kind of Applications it would have great impact on the urban and rural gap in education sector.
The channel, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, will be available on satellite, terrestrial and cable. The educational channel will broadcast programmes from 8 am to 5 pm every day and will deliver content from grades 1 to 12.
The morning session with English, Maths, Urdu and General Science lessons is dedicated for junior students and the next session with all subjects for seniors. The Education Ministry also developed a course schedule for the channel.