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International Literacy Day: $160m Pakistan Reading Project unveiled

Maverick Report

ISLAMABAD: The United States has announced the launch of the Pakistan Reading Project to boost the reading skills of 3.2 million Pakistani children.

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According to a press release, the project will fund improvements in reading instruction and reading assessment in grades one through five throughout the Pakistani public school system.

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The International Rescue Committee (IRC), which is partnering with regional governments and Pakistani civil society organizations, will implement this $160 million project in an estimated 38,000 public schools over the next five years.

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“The launch of this program on International Literacy Day, observed annually on September 08, demonstrates the firm commitment of the United States and its Pakistani partners to improving critical reading and writing skills,” the release said.

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“The Pakistan Reading Project provides Pakistani children an opportunity to develop skills which are essential for success in higher education and in the workplace. Children who do not learn to read in the first few grades of school will struggle to keep up with classroom assignments in later grades,” Gregory Gottlieb, mission director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said after the agreement was signed between USAID and IRC.

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“IRC is honored to work on such an important project which will help improve the quality of education for millions of Pakistani children,” IRC Chief of Party John Shumaker said.

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The release said this initiative is just one part of a comprehensive US education assistance program which includes building or rehabilitating nearly 800 schools; launching new degree programs in education at 90 colleges and universities; providing scholarships for 12,000 students to study in Pakistan; and operating the largest Fulbright academic exchange program in the world.

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