A new campaign aimed to tackle the country’s worsening education crisis was launched at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts on Wednesday. The campaign, Alif Ailaan unites a diverse alliance for change devoted to delivering good quality education to children aged between five and 16 years, said a press release.
More than 25 million children of that age bracket are out of school in the country. This alone constitutes an emergency not only for them and their families but also the society at large. “Justice demands our children are given their constitutional right to an education, but it is also in the country’s interest to educate them, so their generation can compete with the world and build a prosperous Pakistan,” the campaign director, Mosharraf Zaidi, said.
The campaign ambassadors including Oscar-nominated director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, writer and former Information Minister Javed Jabbar, and the band Strings lent their support to the campaign at the event.
The campaign holds that getting all of country’s children in school demands that all Pakistans – parents, youth, teachers and political leaders – play their role in tackling the crisis.
The campaign manifesto sets out in detail the commitments that all Pakistanis need to make in order to bring change. The campaign in asking people to sign its education pledge and be held accountable to the commitments they make.
“We are launching this campaign with the support of allies from across the spectrum of political parties, media, civil society and the educator sector. We’ll be working to make education a leading issue in the elections and will encourage our leaders to follow in the years to come,” Zaidi added.
He further underlined the need for legislation of laws pertaining to the right to education of every child under the Constitution. “Since this is election year, we aim to mobilise public response and galvanize political will in acquiring this goal.”
About state responsibility, he said, “we want the state to do its job of providing the right to an education to each individual of this country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2013.