LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday sought replies from the Punjab government and Education Secretary on an application seeking details about distribution of Rs23.70 billion to private educational institutes over several years. The court sought replies on a miscellaneous application on an already pending writ petition filed by a lawyer seeking implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution with regards to provision of free education to students up to age of 16 years. The petitioner submitted that 11 per cent of the education budget was being allocated to private institutes in the name of support funds whereas 61,000 government schools were without basic facilities. He said 46 per cent of government schools are without proper furniture, 66 per cent have no play ground, 30 per cent do not have electricity, 44 per cent do not have clean drinking water and 60 per cent are without security guards. He added that 16 per cent of government schools do not even have a boundary wall. He said it was unfortunate that the Punjab government instead of improving the condition of government schools was wasting billions of rupees in the name of ‘aid’ to private schools. During the proceedings, the chief justice remarked that the provision of free education for students up to 16 years of age was a fundamental right and the state had a responsibility to ensure it.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2012.
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