The National Assembly unanimously passed on Tuesday a bill to provide free education to all children between the ages of five and 16 in the capital in the hope that provinces would soon follow suit.
Moved by Yasmeen Rehman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill’s approval by the Lower House is described as the first step to facilitate about 7.2 million children deprived of primary education in the country.
Although the education sector has been devolved to provinces under the 18th Constitution Amendment, Islamabad is still under the domain of the federal government.
Already passed by the Senate, the bill makes it imperative for parents to ensure that their children attend school.
Under the bill, it would be the responsibility of the government departments concerned to establish schools in each neighborhood within three years after the approval of the law as Article 25A of the Constitution states that the state should provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and 16.
Higher Education Commission Chairperson Shahnaz Wazir Ali said that the bill holds immense significance for the children of the country and for future generations.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2012.
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