Lawmakers and political leaders on Thursday lauded the Senate for passing a bill that will ensure provision of free-of-cost education to over 70,000 out-of-school children in the federal capital .
They urged the provincial governments to follow suit and introduce similar legislations in their respective assemblies.
Speaking at a seminar on “Right to Education Bill 2012” held by UNESCO, they said the state is responsible for ensuring that all children under the age of 16 are given free-of-cost education without any discrimination.
The bill, presented by senators Dr Saeeda Iqbal, Shujaat Hussain, Najma Hameed and Farah Aqil, was passed unanimously in the upper house of parliament on Monday.
“I’m glad that for once we all discharged our joint responsibility. Though this bill is passed only for Islamabad, I am sure it will provide impetus for provinces to introduce similar legislation,” said Iqbal.
Senator Haji Adeel of the Awami National Party also appreciated the bill, saying that it was the moral duty of politicians to banish their political gains for such legislations.
Prepared with the help of UNESCO, the legislation also calls upon private schools to admit 10% of underprivileged students in their classes.
Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), which has been given the responsibility for the implementation of the bill, will establish schools in each neighbourhood within three years of the law’s approval.
UNESCO representative Dr Kozue Kay Nagata congratulated the senators and termed the bill’s passage as a historic milestone towards education for all in Pakistan.
“The entire process will set an example on how the elected representatives work for the betterment of the people,” he said.
CADD Joint Secretary Prof Rafiq Tahir said the passage of the bill has been the quickest in history.
“I have seen these bills take ages in the National Assembly but due to an understanding between political parties, it just took a few hours in the Senate,” he said.
According to the Federal Directorate of Education, a total of 161,400 students in the capital city are currently enrolled in federal government schools and colleges, while another 42,000 are studying in model colleges. The bill, therefore will improve the enrolment rate by nearly 35%.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
Hardly any comments on such important bill. Oh yes, its trivial matter. Pakistanis are busy with important issues like saving Islam which is in danger.
Will the Federal Directorate of Education be able to get the funds as the Government's priority is to defy the SC orders on NRO.