Bill passed: Free education for all children up to 16 years

Published: February 14, 2013
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PHOTO: M. ALI/FILE

PHOTO: M. ALI/FILE

KARACHI: 

On Wednesday, Sindh became the first province to make a law providing free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and 16 years.

Adopting the ‘Sindh Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education 2013’ bill, the education minister Pir Mazharul Haq was proud that Sindh has once again taken the lead in implementing Article 25-A of the Constitution, which ensures that education remains a fundamental right of every child.

According to the law, all children whose parents cannot afford to pay for education, or have become victims of terrorism shall be enrolled for free in private schools, where they will form 10 per cent of the total class. Every school will now have to constitute a management committee of government representatives, teachers and school principals to ensure that the policy is implemented. Both the school management and the parents can be fined or imprisoned if the law is not followed, according to the bill. These children would also be exempted from paying any extra fee or expenses that may prevent them from pursuing secondary education.

In order to help the students, the government will also establish a system of grants-in-aid to support the school where these children are enrolled.

In the past five years, Sindh has managed to raise literacy rates by 10 per cent, the education minister told the house. He pointed out that even Ethiopia, Somalia and other under developed countries are spending more on education than Pakistan.

Congratulating the government on this remarkable bill, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed stressed that it should be implemented properly. Ahmed, who served as a senior bureaucrat for years, recalled that there used to be good quality education in public sector schools before Partition because access to education was compulsory for all. With the passage of time, however, education levels fell and today, Pakistan stands at 143 out of 180 countries, he said.

Even the opposition leaders appreciated the move. National Peoples Party’s Arif Jatoi suggeste the government give more incentives, stipends and funds to private schools so that the law takes effect soon. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Marvi Rashdi also felt that the bill will reduce the gap between the education systems for the rich and the poor.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Nawab Taimour Talpur suggested that the right of free education should include transgenders as well. Later, Haq read the whole bill at which all the lawmakers thumped their desks and passed it unanimously.

Resolutions

The assembly also passed joint resolutions recommending the provincial government approach the Punjab government to register cases against police officials who had tortured the deputy parliamentarian of the PPP Shaukat Basra.

Meanwhile, four other bills including ones on Sindh Protection of Breast Feeding and Child Nutrition, Education City 2012, Sindh Arms Bill 2013 and Hyderabad Institute of Arts, Science and technology 2013 were deferred.

The session has been adjourned till today, when the Sindh IGP Fayyaz Leghari will explain Karachi’s violence to the legislators in an in-camera briefing.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Nadir
    Feb 14, 2013 - 2:49AM

    Now watch how parents balk at the idea of children of a lesser god sharing a class with their affluent peers! The horror!

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  • Prince Nasar
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:12AM

    It’s really a great initiative taken by Sindh Assembly. Sindh assembly needs appreciation on such a tremendous initiative. But they r much of proud of implenting such law only in Sindh indirectly they are making sarcasm on other provinces and as well as their Politicians. The govenrment needs to take steps on Federal level in implenting such laws in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa too also dh adjoining areas of FATA. In Punjab i m sure in a day or two the CM shehbaz sharif will announce the same law.

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  • uet
    Feb 14, 2013 - 3:28AM

    These sindhi feudals have already destroyed public schools , now they gonna destroy private schools too.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Feb 14, 2013 - 6:58AM

    This picture shows some private school children, the government run schools are dilapidated , out dated, out modded and down right inadequate for the masses. This government is so shameless that they border on being pathetic. This is all about election gimmickry and people are not stupid to see what they are doing. Where were they for the last 5years, did they ever visited a government run school and by the way what about those ghost schools, well, now they have free education too. Shame Shame, send these shameless people home for a long long time to come.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 14, 2013 - 6:59AM

    This is a noble action and one is surprised that this was not the case previously. I guess all children also receive their food as well free of charge. Free education for all including in the university should be Govt. target.

    Rex Minor.

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  • Upset
    Feb 14, 2013 - 8:31AM

    So the Sindh Government Cannot Do anything themselves so they are shifting the burden to the school owners. Eventually the schools will Charge higher fee to the students who are enrolled there to cover for the FREE KIDS in the class. This is nothing but an ADDITIONAL TAX or a new Bribery System that this stupid / good for nothing government has come up with!

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  • Usman786
    Feb 14, 2013 - 8:41AM

    this is a very good move that 10% seats will be given to poor children. There should be a limit on private schools getting profit like 20% since they offer poor infra structure and give very less pay to teachers

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  • Ali
    Feb 14, 2013 - 8:56AM

    We request Pir Mazhar and other minister to please take lead in maintaining peace in Karachi too. You people always claim to have set precedence in everything except for law and order in Karachi and rest of districts of Sindh

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  • Angry Citizen
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:45AM

    and fee burden of these 10% will be born by remaining 90% of students. schools will bear no loss..

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  • Feb 14, 2013 - 9:57AM

    Say what you people want, but why is this law coming into the news now? Why is this being passed after five years of ‘skulduggery and plunder?’ This is nothing but an election ploy. Salams

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  • Haris Jadoon
    Feb 14, 2013 - 9:59AM

    Can anyone tell where to find Text / Draft of this bill?

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  • sara
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:09AM

    Thank God. Finally a step in the right direction. However I do agree with @NadirRecommend

  • Farcical
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:19AM

    After having officially dropped the letter ‘h’ from the spelling of Sind(h) yesterday, the Assembly seems to have forgotten it’s own resolution in the title of the Bill. Or has ET erred in this respect?

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  • DevilHunterX
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:23AM

    Wasteful excercise.

    First, get educated teachers and required facilities.
    Second, ban private sector education for people who get salary/benefits from the public exchequer.

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  • Roni
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:46AM

    What a nice gesture for the poor masses by the elected govt. No wonder the SC, army and rightwing mullah want to keep them from completing their term in peace and harmony so they can do somethings without fearing their back.

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  • Aijaz Haider
    Feb 14, 2013 - 11:04AM

    Well done!Recommend

  • palvasha
    Feb 14, 2013 - 11:05AM

    This law is not a viable one. It is an obvious election stunt.
    10% seats to low income children? There are obvious SOCIAL constraints that have to be dealt with here. I cannot imagine ‘low income’ kids and ‘high income’ kids actually having an equal relationship within the class room and this will actually hurt the self-esteem of the ‘low income’ kids even more. Teachers would also treat them differently, it is human nature.
    Better solution would be to have good schools for ‘low income’ kids and perhaps in private UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES we can have 10% class seats for ‘low income’ so that they are more equal with the rest of the student body in terms of education, knowledge, social skill, confidence etc

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  • Ahmad
    Feb 14, 2013 - 11:18AM

    @Prince Nasar:
    After 18th amendment, Provinces make their own Education Policies.
    About Punjab, you need 2/3rd of Assembly to pass the bill, one man show like Shehbaz Sharif can only give you schemes (not policies) like Danish School, Ujala Scheme.

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  • Pirbhu Satyani
    Feb 14, 2013 - 11:34AM

    whatever the politics beyond this whether election or anything else.. but this is good move indeed, in favour of children and to minimize the different between rich and poor, we all should appreciate to govt and enforce for the proper implementation of bill.

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  • Ali Kazmi
    Feb 14, 2013 - 12:38PM

    This is absolutely horrific! Such laws have been implemented in other countries with disastrous results and given how dysfunctional Pakistan is, such a law will probably prove doubly worse for Pakistan. God help the people of Sind.

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  • Nasir Mahmood
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:17PM

    Shame on Governments, even ethopia is spending more on education than Pakistan. Due to negligence of parliamentarians, they should be held responsible and recoverd the difference of Pakistan and Ethopia spending on education, from these.

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  • Vampire
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:26PM

    Implementation Mechamism please?!?!?

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  • Stranger
    Feb 14, 2013 - 1:46PM

    Education has always been free in government schools. Thats why in Ind and Pak, they
    are not run efficiently at least in big cities. My experiernce is that smaller villages and towns have a better run school system in these 2 countries. I think we should have private schools for children of middle or rich communities.Its a wrong move by the government .

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  • Yawer Amin
    Feb 14, 2013 - 2:19PM

    If only existing laws are implemented that would be more then enough. transparency is key to success but here in Pakistan Govt. Its all about Business.
    Ghost schools, ghosts teacher brings ghost education !!

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  • Pardesi
    Feb 14, 2013 - 4:15PM

    Has Tribune got the spelling wrong of SIND(H).

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  • In the Know...
    Feb 14, 2013 - 7:16PM

    Beyond belief. Unimplementable.

    Can anyone imagine a truly “poor” kid studying along with a truly “rich” kid? Imagine the damage we’ll do to the psyche of the poor children. Especially in a society where the uncouth, new monied parents like to give 50 thousand rupee phones / gadgets to their 3 and 4 year old kids to play with, how is the poor kid expected to understand and compete. Yes, we should not have two separate systems, but we also cannot have irreconcilable dichotomy in classrooms. No one is trained to manage or handle that kind of variation in the make up of a class room… not teachers, not the school managements, not parents and the least not the children themselves.

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