LAHORE: All political parties in Pakistan agree in principle that education is a basic human right of every child. In their election manifestoes, they place education on their priority lists. Pakistan’s Constitution also declares it an obligation of the state to educate all children without any discrimination. Article 25-A of the Constitution states: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law.”
However, the ground situation has always been pathetic. According to a research report by the Status of Right to Education in Pakistan, more than 22 per cent children aged five to 16 years are still out of school in Pakistan. Also, 32 per cent of the total enrolled children are getting education in private schools. The statistics show that 36.8 per cent of children around the age of five were studying in government schools, 29.4 per cent in private schools, 1.1 per cent in madrassas, while 0.8 per cent were enrolled with other types of educational institutions. Thirty-one per cent of children of this age were never enrolled, while 0.6 per cent left school after attending it for some time.
Also, 55.4 per cent of children from the six to 10-year age group are enrolled in government schools, 24.1 per cent in private institutions, 1.7 per cent in madrassas and 0.8 per cent in other types of institutions. Politicians should realise that tall claims will not serve the purpose; all governments, at the centre and in the provinces, will have to make education their top priority to achieve the goal of developing a literate and educated nation.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2015.