Free education: SHC wants measures for universal free education explained

Education secretary put on notice for May 2.


Our Correspondent April 04, 2012

KARACHI: Sindh’s secretary for education was put on notice along with the orders to appear before the Sindh High Court on May 2 to explain what his department has done to provide universal free education.

The order was issued by a division bench of the high court comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Shafi Siddiqui here on Tuesday during the hearing of a constitutional petition filed by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and Aurat Foundation, two prominent non-profit groups. Faisal Siddiqui advocate, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that education is a fundamental right recognised under Article 9 of the Constitution. This right to education is also enshrined in Article 37(b) of the Principles of Policies.

He submitted that after the passage of the 18th Amendment, provincial governments are bound to ensure that all children between the ages of five to sixteen years are educated.

The failure of the education department to provide free and compulsory education to all children is a unconstitutional failure of the respondent, maintained the counsel for the petitioner. It is a fundamental right, and not a discretionary right, which the government can refuse to provide, he submitted.

The petitioner also maintains that the government is under a constitutional obligation to check and monitor exorbitant fees charged by private schools.

The bench, after hearing the counsel for the petitioner, while ordering for pre-admission notices to be issued for May 2, ordered the personal appearance of the secretary.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.

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