Civil rights campaigners to argue on poor education standards

SHC informed that 6,000 govt schools not functioning in the province


Our Correspondent December 21, 2017
PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) asked on Wednesday civil rights campaigners’ lawyers to argue on their plea seeking an end to dual standards in education in the province.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, directed Advocate Nadeem Sheikh to argue on the matter to be taken up on a date to be later notified by the office.

The petition was filed by civil rights campaigner Alamgir Khan of #FixIt and Atam Parkash of the Justice Helpline Trust. They took to court the provincial chief secretary, secretaries of the education and finance departments and member of the education sector planning and development board over poor standards of education in the province.

The petitioners informed the court that there were not enough middle and high schools in the province to meet the challenge of providing necessary education to students. Citing a survey report, the petitioners said around 6,000 government schools were not functioning while there were more than 40,000 ghost teachers and non-teaching staff across the province.

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Advocate Shaikh argued that it had been observed that political influence was the main factor behind ruining the education system in Sindh. This is evident with past experience when the provincial government asked government teachers for biometric verification to confirm their employment but the whole procedure was sabotaged by corrupt teachers and politicians, he alleged.

Sheikh recalled that the provincial assembly had passed the Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill in February 2013 to provide free-of-cost education to every child. “Clause 3(1) of the said Act clearly mentions that every child of the age of five to 16 years regardless of sex and race shall have a fundamental right to free and compulsory education in a school,” he argued referring to the law.

The judges were informed that according to a survey conducted by the Sindh education department, 77% of schools were in unsatisfactory condition and almost 50% do not have basic facilities of safe drinking water.

The petitioners maintained that the Sindh government claimed to promote education in the province under its “education emergency” plan but no betterment had been observed in the education sector and the conditions had become worse.

They said that in Pakistan the double standard of education had been introduced, as one system prevailing throughout the country was related to public sector and the other one was an outcome of private investors.

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The petitioners asked the court to order the constitution of a JIT consisting of members from all investigation authorities, including the Pakistan Army, and direct them to investigate the matter impartially and honestly.

Taking up the plea on Wednesday, the judges asked the petitioners’ lawyer to come prepared to argue on the matter on the next date to be later fixed by the office.

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