Federal Government and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have signed Bilateral Educational Cooperation Agreement in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu signed for the country while the Pakistani High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Agha Farooq signed for his country.
Adamu in his remarks said that the aim of the pact was to strengthen the friendship between the two countries and to promote relationship in the area of education.
He recalled that both countries signed an Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement in 1986, which culminated in the establishment of a Joint Commission which was inaugurated in 1992.
According to the minister, available records reveal that Nigeria and Pakistan are yet to conclude any bilateral education cooperation agreement.
â€œBoth the initial draft on Education and Cultural Cooperation Agreement and the update copies forwarded by the Nigerian government to the Pakistan authorities in 1983 and 1992 respectively were not responded to.
â€œDespite this fact, Nigerian students have continued to enjoy scholarship awards from the government of Pakistan since 1985- Nigerian students are currently studying in Pakistan on scholarship.
â€œTo further strengthen the existing harmonious relationship between the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested the Federal Ministry of Education to resuscitate or initiate a draft agreement on educational exchange programmes.
â€œThe draft agreement was vetted and forward to the Pakistani authorities for comments in 2009; unfortunately, the formal signing of the agreement could not take place since 2010 due to some challenges,â€™â€™ he said.
Adamu expressed delight that despite the challenges experienced in the past, the two countries were able to sign the agreement on educational exchange programmes.
On his part, Farooq said he was delighted to be a part of the agreement which would be the foundation for greater cooperation.
He also expressed his satisfaction that the cooperation was in area of education which was the most desired field for nation-building.
â€œWe both have challenges; we both have opportunities; the kind of challenges we both have can only be surmounted through education. Since 1986, Nigeria and Pakistan have recorded lot of cooperation in many fields.