Malala, father discuss education issue with PM Shahid Abbasi

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NEW YORK: Pakistan’s youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and her father Ziauddin Yousufzai met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. She posted a picture with the Pakistani premier as well on her Twitter account.

Malala, a strong advocate for female education, sought the PM’s support for promoting education in rural areas, especially in Swat. She said the present government should make education a part of its manifesto.

While admiring Malala’s contribution towards education and her efforts to raise the status of girls, PM Abbasi responded that education is the forefront agenda of the present government as no investment would yield dividends without investing in the education sector.

He added that the government has increased the education budget in the country and wants to raise the literacy rate by establishing more institutions for education. He further said that investment in the education sector is more useful than in any other field.

However, we still have a lot of work to do to address the gender inequality and infrastructure issues, said Abbasi. He added the government is also in contact with NGOs and the provincial governments to achieve this objective.

“I believe that not only the quantity but [it is] also the quality of education that matters,” the Prime Minister said.

Malala also met a number of world leaders. She met Argentina’s vice president Gabriela Michetti and asked her to focus on education when Argentina hosts the G20 summit next year. Malala and Netherlands’ prime minister discussed the country’s commitment to education in conflict.

The 20-year-old Nobel laureate asked Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg to continue supporting girls’ education. She had a “great discussion” with French president Emmanuel Macron about education.