U.S. to spend millions on educating Pakistani girls

Pakistani children attend a class at a makeshift school on International Literacy Day in Lahore on September 8, 2015.

Pakistani children attend a class at a makeshift school on International Literacy Day in Lahore on September 8, 2015.

(Arif Ali / AFP/Getty Images)

The White House announced a new partnership with Pakistan on Thursday to promote education for girls there by doubling spending on schools and boosting female enrollment.

Pakistan plans to increase the number of female teachers and build boundary walls and make other accommodations to allow women and girls to teach and learn alongside men and boys.

The U.S. will commit to spend $70 million to the cause and will cooperate with Pakistan to increase the ranks of girls in school by more than 200,000, First Lady Michelle Obama said at an appearance with Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif, the wife of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“That is 200,000 girls who will have a chance to fulfill their promise -- just like our daughters have that opportunity -- and become the next generation of doctors and teachers and entrepreneurs; the next Mrs. Sharifs, the leadership of the country,” Obama said. “And that’s 200,000 girls who will one day raise healthier, more educated families of their own.”


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The announcement came after a meeting between President Obama and Nawaz Sharif on Thursday at the White House.

The agreement came partly at the urging of Michelle Obama, whose signature Let Girls Learn initiative is designed to help adolescent girls around the world attend school and complete their education.

Shortly after the launch of the program in the spring, the president and first lady called on world leaders to collaborate with the U.S. to try to get more than 62 million uneducated girls into school.

The first lady’s office hopes the awareness campaign will help girls overcome barriers such as poverty, cultural norms and violence that get in the way of their school attendance.

Already, South Korea, Britain and Japan have joined in the effort. Officials consider the new promises from Pakistan to be a significant step toward helping disenfranchised girls get an education.

“This investment represents a major milestone for these girls and for their country,” Obama said.

For more White House coverage, follow @cparsons



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