Commonwealth of Learning (COL), a prestigious institution in the UK, and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) have agreed on a draft plan to launch open-schooling system in Pakistan for achieving millennium development goals, ensuring universal education by the year 2015.

The COL consultant Dr John Tony gave briefing here at the AIOU. Under the proposed plan, an institute of open schooling and lifelong learning will be established at the AIOU to impart education at primary, middle and higher secondary levels throughout Pakistan through distance and open-learning system. The system has already been successfully tested in many other countries including UK, India, Namibia and Tanzania to overcome illiteracy.

AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi said that the open schooling system will be a milestone in achieving the millennium development goals. The plan, he said will be implemented in consultation and cooperation of the provincial governments and other concerned federal institutions.

He said the university has the required capacity and academic potential for developing necessary curriculum and other parameters to implement the plan in its true spirit.

AIOU’s Director Bureau of University Extension and Special Programmes, Mukhtar Hussain Talpur, said the proposed plan provides a roadmap for upgrading literacy at all levels in the country, particularly in the far-flung and less-developed regions. He said the AIOU will be seeking support from relevant institutions home and abroad to achieve the desired objectives. Plan International has already provided Rs18.4 million to AIOU for promoting primary and post-primary education in the country.

Dr Tohn Tony explained that through the open and distance learning millions of Pakistanis currently outside the formal educational system will have access to opportunities to undertake organised educational activities at pre-tertiary level which will improve the quality of their lives

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