Article 25-A of the Constitution declares free and compulsory education to be a fundamental right for all children aged five to 16. But three years after the article was introduced as part of the 18th Amendment, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government is yet to initiate mechanisms that implement this right.
Following an all-parties conference (APC) earlier this month, the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) in collaboration with the education campaign Alif Ailaan organised an APC on Wednesday in which the current standard of education in the province was discussed.
The aim of this meeting was to discuss education reform in light of the upcoming elections and highlight the challenges facing the sector.
Ahmad Ali, a research fellow at I-SAPS, said the overall dropout rate of children aged five to 16 was 2.2 million in K-P. In Peshawar alone,
628,356 children are not enrolled in any school.
Additionally, Ali said around 490 schools had no electricity, 43 lacked boundary walls, 168 had no clean drinking water and 52 were without toilets.
He said the government could increase children’s access to schools by providing basic facilities, building more schools and appointing teachers on merit. Ali further claimed a number of good initiatives had already been undertaken by the government, adding a forum would be provided to political parties to present their views on the education emergency.
Awami National Party (ANP) provincial leader Arbab Tahir claimed the party had raised the level of education in the province by establishing various universities, colleges and schools.
On the other hand, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl representative Muhammad Naeem Qasmi said his party had worked for education as part of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal government. He said if voted to power, education would be the JUI-F’s first priority.
Other parties that attended the conference included the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Qaumi Watan Party, Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ