Right to education: UN body questions privatisation plan

Published: June 14, 2016
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UN committee has asked why the RTE bills in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan were pending. PHOTO: FILE

UN committee has asked why the RTE bills in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan were pending. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has questioned Pakistan on the unchecked privatisation of education and pending status of the “right to education (RTE) bills”.

After the review of Pakistan for its state of child rights according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN committee expressed concern over privatisation of education and the lack of measures to ensure compliance of private schools regarding minimum educational standards, curriculum requirements and qualification for teachers, said a press release issued by the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) here on Friday.

The UN committee met at Palais Wilson in Geneva from 17 May to 3 June, while Pakistan was represented by an 11-member delegation headed by Minister of Human Rights Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Geneva Tehmina Janjua.

A separate PCE delegation also represented Pakistan’s civil society and submitted a shadow report highlighting the state of education in the country.

Earlier, the committee asked why the RTE bills in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan were pending.

The committee called for immediate adoption of the pending bills related to education, which was obligatory for Pakistan under the UN convention.

The committee also noted that Pakistan’s allocations to education and health sectors were very low despite its commitment in the previous dialogue with the committee.

The government’s support for private schools receiving subsidies under various public private partnerships was also questioned in the review.

The 11-member Pakistan delegation failed to comment adequately on the issue of passing the RTE bills and incorrectly reported that the legislation was passed by almost all provinces, the PCE press release said.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has failed to implement article 25(a) of the constitution which calls for “free and compulsory primary education”, it further said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2016.

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