Promises are cheap

There are currently seven million children out of school who should be in it, the second-highest figure in the world.


Editorial April 01, 2014
It is now revealed that there is a fundamental impediment to expanding the education footprint — Pakistan has yet to determine the financial requirements to fulfil national and international commitments to Education for All (EFA). PHOTO: FILE

Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, put his finger on it when he said that the government should “adopt concrete measures to actually get children into school instead of just promising them education”. There in a nutshell is the essence of the problem of getting the children of Pakistan educated — political promises have not been turned into educational realities for millions of our children, and one is forced to conclude that no government has ever been entirely serious about universal education in Pakistan. There are currently seven million children out of school who should be in it, the second-highest figure in the world and a position that has remained unaltered for, at least, a decade. It is now revealed that there is a fundamental impediment to expanding the education footprint — Pakistan has yet to determine the financial requirements to fulfil national and international commitments to Education for All (EFA). The Ministry of Education has admitted that there has been no study as to how much it will cost to meet the 2015 EFA target of 80 per cent of school-age children being educated.

A new clause guaranteeing the right to an education for everybody was inserted into the Constitution in 2010. Article 25-A says that the state shall provide compulsory and free education to every child between the ages of five and 16. The National Education Policy that was approved in 2009 is on the back burner after the devolution of education budgets to the provinces, only two of which had adopted Article 25-A. As with the devolution of health budgets, education has not fared well from the Eighteenth Amendment. Commitments made at the federal level regarding education run into the sand at the provincial level. As things stand, the entire primary education sector is effectively marching backwards. The international community has pledged $1 billion for education development over the next four years. We hope this money can be put to good use.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2014.

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COMMENTS (2)

Hari Om | 7 years ago | Reply The inevitable consequence of Pakistan’s obsession for boxing above her weight class and nurturing an outsize military in order to seek parity with India is the stunted development of education that sees her having the second highest number of children out of school. There is after all truth in the old Guns or Butter adage and Pakistan’s pursuit of being the “Sole Islamic Nuclear Power” will as former Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto put it entail Pakistan necessarily “Eating Grass”. Given what I have said above, till such time as Pakistan accepts the immutable reality that she is inferior to India, education and other sectors will remain stunted and subject to lame excuses like “Pakistan has yet to determine the financial requirements to fulfil national and international commitments to Education for All (EFA)” when the reality is that the Pakistan Military has hogged all the resources. The solution thus is rather straight forward, but will Pakistan make the rational choice?
Sub-Continental Boko Haram | 7 years ago | Reply

Problem can be easily solved by applying halal Islamic solution. There is no need for un-Islamic secular and foreign education. Muslims must pay heed to words of KpK Minister Sirajul Haq that foreign education is “promoting anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistan culture to their students” and that all they are taught is to “sing, dance and elope with girls”. Pakistan Government should give education budget to pure and pious ulema to spend on Madrassah’s that will impart quality education. This will solve all problems. Salaams.

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