Ambassador Marilina Armellin announces major initiative to educate out-of-school children in Pakistan through IRI

Islamabad: Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Marilina Armellin, this week announced a significant initiative aimed at educating out-of-school children in Pakistan through Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI).

Education remains a distant dream for many children in rural Pakistan. Recognizing this, Ambassador Armellin has spearheaded an initiative to leverage radio broadcasts to highlight the benefits of enrollment and education. This innovative approach will also disseminate practical information on sustainable development practices for schools.

Set to launch next month, this groundbreaking IRI initiative promises to revolutionize access to education for millions of out-of-school children in Pakistan.

In collaboration with local partners and supported by UNESCO, Italy will roll out a pioneering “Radio Education” program designed to bridge educational gaps and empower underprivileged communities.

Pakistan currently faces severe educational challenges, with a literacy rate of 62% and significant disparities in educational access. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent “Education Emergency” initiative aims to integrate millions of out-of-school children into the educational system. The Italian initiative underscores a crucial moment in Pakistan’s pursuit of inclusive education and economic advancement.

Ambassador Armellin emphasized the vital roles of government, teachers, and parents in cultivating a robust educational ecosystem. She highlighted Italy’s rich educational heritage and its support for Pakistan through UNESCO-backed projects, such as radio education in remote areas. The project aims not only to promote learning but also to empower communities to adopt sustainable practices, thereby enhancing resilience against environmental challenges.

Beyond education, Italy and Pakistan are exploring economic synergies. With burgeoning trade ties and shared interests in agriculture, energy, and tourism, both nations aim to capitalize on their strengths. The potential for direct flights between Milan and Lahore would cater to the vibrant Pakistani diaspora in Italy, signaling a promising future for bilateral connectivity and cultural exchange.

As Pakistan navigates its educational and economic landscapes, collaboration with Italy stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity. Through concerted efforts and shared visions, both nations strive toward a future where education serves as a cornerstone of societal prosperity and inclusive growth.

Ambassador Armellin highlighted Italy’s significant impact through various projects aimed at education and environmental sustainability in Pakistan. She mentioned the Pakistan-Italy Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA), which funds 48 projects nationwide. In Gilgit-Baltistan, these efforts support environmental strategies and promote eco-tourism.

Their collaboration with UNESCO includes initiatives like “Support to Girls’ Right of Education,” which has enrolled 6,570 girls and trained 457 teachers in innovative methods. The upcoming “Radio Education” project will use Interactive Radio Instruction to enhance after-school education and community resilience.

Ambassador Armellin emphasized the role of literacy in empowering individuals and improving socio-economic outcomes.