ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi Monday while terming the country’s progress linked with education, called for society and Ulema’s role to promote girls’ education through awareness as well as providing them with a secure environment. The president, addressing the launching ceremony of “Ulema- Ambassadors of Girls Education Campaign” here said the Ulema had never resisted the girls’ education as Islam was always its strong proponent. He said the dropout rate of children in Pakistan was high which should be addressed by the government. He said in Pakistan, 32% of primary students were out of schools comparing 21% boys, 60% girls above primary level were out of school comparing 50% boys while only 13% of girls reached class 9. He said in case of an insecure atmosphere, the parents would not even send their boys to schools, what to talk of the girls. There could also be some opposition to co-education due to cultural traditions which should be resolved through the provision of separate facilities, he added. The president said with the increased awareness, the mindset of giving more importance to boys’ education would also subside gradually. Contrary to the notion, he said the Ulema also never opposed family planning. However, having their influence and outreach to the masses, the Ulema should highlight the importance of girls’ education, health issues like diabetes and obesity. He said mosques had been and should remain the anchors of the Islamic society. He said the prayer leaders could also be sensitized on certain issues like the killing of Sri Lankan national Sialkot to raise their voice against extremist attitudes. The president also lauded the idea of using the infrastructure of mosques without seminaries for school education in Punjab and KP where the prayer leaders were also getting stipends. He said besides faith, education was also equally important for the Muslims to excel in the world otherwise they would lag behind in the development. However, he said in this modern era, it was also possible for the girls to get skill training while being at home, through the government had also introduced 50,000 higher education scholarships for both boys and girls. In order to promote girls’ education at a lower level, the president said the government was giving Rs 500 more stipend for girls’ enrolment in schools compared to the boys. The president also lauded the role of Ulema for evolving a consensus on the anti-COVID SOPs which made Pakistan the first Muslim country to allow mosques open. He said after their adult literacy, the women could be skill trained to make them an earning hand for their families and help them become productive citizens. He said under the Ehsaas program, the government was extending cash assistance to the women as they were considered to be more responsible and better handlers of the money. He said there was no discrimination between men and women regarding education rather Islam was the first religion to empower women by granting them inheritance rights. However, he said it was essential for the Muslims to abide by the basic principles of Islam to regain the lost grandeur. President Alvi also mentioned the double standards of the West regarding women and refugees’ rights and said their morality was hypocritical.