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Number of children enrolling in schools rising each year: minister

LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed on Friday said there were 60,000 schools in Punjab and the number of children getting enrolled in them according to the Millennium Development Goals was increasing every year.

The minister said this while talking to a six-member delegation of the Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE) Project of the European Commission led by Project Director Richard Barret that met him on Friday.

According to a handout, the minister and senior experts in education, sports and youth affairs gave a briefing to the delegation about the projects and achievements of the Punjab government in these sectors.

Ambassador of European Union Ben Scharveld, Deputy Ambassador Stefano Gatto, Consul General of European Union Nadeem Irani, Media Adviser Imtiaz Gul and Member Project Mian Saifur Rehman apprised the minister of the aims and objectives of the project.

Welcoming the delegation, Mashhood said the project would prove to be an important source for eliminatingviolence and extremism from Pakistan.

He said, `We can also make our youth useful members of society by promoting universal principles of tolerance, interfaith harmony and co-existence in all government and private educational institutions and universities, including religious seminaries.

Later, the minister along with Commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbal, District Coordination Officer retired Capt Muhammad Usman, Secretary (Schools Education) Abdul Jabbar Shaheen and Capital City Police Officer retired Capt Muhammad Amin Wains during a joint press conference talked to the media about the protest demonstration of students, teachers and parents of Government Islamia High School, Bhati Gate.

The handout mentioned him telling clearly to the media that police officials did not torture any child.

Mashhood said the country is in a state of war that was why a ban had been imposed on daily morning assembly of students in schools. Therefore, administration of any school could not be allowed to bring children on roads and use them for protests for personal gains, he added.