MULTAN: State-of-the-art labs have been opened in Multan for transgender people, marking a significant stride towards providing quality education and technical training to the marginalised community.
The labs were inaugurated following a collaboration between the Department of School Education South Punjab and the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
The inauguration ceremony took place at the Government Girls Comprehensive Higher Secondary School, the first transgender school in the city.
The facilities in these labs, established under the UNESCO-supported project, will offer training in various fields such as computer skills, cooking, beautification, sewing, and embroidery.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between UNESCO and the school education department in May this year, setting the stage for the creation of these state-of-the-art labs.
The project is aimed at boosting the education infrastructure for transgenders being enrolled in schools to equip them with not only professional education but also technical education, an official statement by Unesco read.
The organisation's Country Director for Pakistan Yusuf Dalali Maknesi said that such labs would not only provide education but also essential skills to transgender people, ensuring their holistic development.
He said that Unesco and South Punjab School Education have agreed to increase further cooperation in trans education projects.
"Unesco will continue its cooperation with the Department of School Education regarding the easy access of the people to the basic and mandatory right to education in South Punjab," Maknesi said.
He also expressed his satisfaction with the quality and vocational training of the students and urged the students to study with heart, underscoring the commitment to providing free textbooks, stationery, uniforms, and shoes to transgender school students.
On the occasion, Additional Secretary Khawaja Mazharul Haque and other officials, including trans education consultant Alisha Shirazi were also present.
South Punjab School Education Secretary Dr Obaidullah Khokhar said that trans education is the need of the hour and his department is taking "exemplary" practical steps to educate and skill the transgender community.
Meanwhile, the focal person of the Trans Education Project, Hina Chaudhry, shared insights into the successful “Accelerated Learning Program," where transgender students receive formal education and progress through classes based on their age.
Chaudhry also revealed that, within two years of its establishment, transgender school students have excelled in matriculation and intermediate examinations, showcasing their academic merit.
To further empower them economically, the students are also trained in fields like tailoring, dress designing, and beautification, she added.
The event witnessed the presence of numerous officials, educators, and members of the transgender community, signaling a collective commitment towards making inclusive and empowering education for all.
— Additional input from APP