Streamlining or shutting down? Activists reject FATA’s rationalisation policy

CRM Coordinator Zar Ali said the policy is depriving students of their fundamental rights under the Constitution


Our Correspondent February 17, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR:


Social activists and jirga members denounced the education rationalisation policy issued by the FATA Secretariat for violating the rights of children, stated a press release issued on Wednesday. According to the document, representatives from Taleemi Islahi Jirga, Child Rights Movement (CRM) and National Action Coordination Group voiced their reservations regarding the policy at an event organised in the city.


As per the policy, a primary school situated two kilometres away from another institute will be closed down. This move has been vehemently criticised as it would compel students to travel long distances to go to school.

Counterproductive

Various representatives said the rationalisation policy, which was introduced earlier this year, will create more hurdles for children. “Fata is already facing challenges in the education sector,” the press release quoted a representative as saying. “Over 1.5 million children are out of schools. The government needs to implement Article 25A – right to free and compulsory education for children between the ages of five and 16 – in Fata,” it added. “More schools need to be constructed and more children need to be educated.”

A matter of mobility

Participants said reducing the number of schools will only add to the misery of tribespeople. “A large portion of Fata is mountainous,” the press release quoted a participant as saying.

“There are countless problems in mobility. [If the policy is implemented], it will create problems for children.”As per the press release, participants said the rationalisation policy will create a feud between various tribes and create issues for teachers.

Future at stake

CRM Coordinator Zar Ali said the policy is depriving students of their fundamental rights under the Constitution.

“The literacy rate in Fata is also particularly low,” the press release cited him as saying. “Only 17% boys and 3% girls have been able to get an education.” According to Zar Ali, the rationalisation policy will put the future of Fata’s children at stake.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th,  2016.

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