Knowledge economy: Call for implementation of ‘right to free education’ law

Parliamentarians suggest stronger education governance

News Desk December 05, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians and members of the civil society have called for full implementation of the ‘Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2012’ in Islamabad Capital Territory.

They were speaking at a briefing session of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) on Wednesday.

Committee Chairman Gulzar Khan said that due to the current lack of oversight mechanisms and inefficient state bureaucracy, “we are failing our children”. He advocated for increased public-private-partnership and incentives for teachers to ensure attendance, retention and quality.

MQM parliamentarian Rehan Hashmi said that parliamentarians need to get involved at grass-roots level and the civil society must work closely with state functionaries to ensure education for all.

A Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) representative informed the session about difficulties in meeting the goal of education for all in Islamabad. He said some initiative the administration has taken so far include waiving tuitions fee and free books in ICT schools.

He said that thousands of children in Islamabad are still out of schools.

MNA Phyllis Azeem argued that rather than constructing new schools or increasing the budget, governance mechanisms should be strengthened and the state should monitor existing schools and systems.

The law, which was enacted in November 2012, obligates the state to provide “free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years” and applies to all schools established by the federal government and local government in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The briefing was organised by Pakistan Coalition for Education in collaboration with PIPS.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2014.


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