Uploaded by Minahil Kausar

Education- News Column

The right to education has been recognized by the UN as one of the basic human rights. It means that
education is legally guaranteed for everyone without any discrimination or biasness. The states are not
only obliged to protect this right but also respect and fulfill it for every citizen. In case of violation, the
states are to be held accountable for depriving its citizens of this right. Pakistan’s constitution puts great
emphasis on the importance of education. The Article 25-A of the constitution states:
"The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years
in such manner as may be determined by law.” – (Article 25-A, RTE PAKISTAN)
Despite of this law, the supreme court chief justice has observed that the children between ages 5-16 are
out of school due to lack of financial resources to support their education. So, if the law demands that
free education is provided to children of this age group and we still have around 30 million children out
of school, the question that comes into mind is that, is the state fulfilling its duty towards children, or is it
depriving them off of their fundamental human rights?
To understand the situation at hand we first need to understand the educational system of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s education system consists of around 260,903 institutions and caters to around 41,018,338
students. The average number of teachers are 1,535,461. These numbers consist of both private and the
public institutions. There are 180,846 public institutions and 80,057 private institutions. Hence we see
that 69% of the institutions are run by the public institutes while only 31% is run by the private sector.
For a country with such a population, these figures are very low. Pakistan has always been committed to
promoting education and fighting against low literacy rates, at both international and national level.
National education policies are designed in a way that not only helps provide mechanisms to increase the
literacy rates but also helps enhance facilities in institutions for the quality of education. However, since
the 18th amendment back in 2010, there has not been a lot of change or focus on the educational sector
of Pakistan. The issues of access, infrastructure, budget, discrimination, and quality remain unanswered.
Internationally, Pakistan committed with MDGs (Millennium Development Program) and EFA (Education
for All) as a step towards promotion of literacy, but failed to keep up with the objectives. However,
Pakistan is not the only country that failed to take on the EFA or MDG challenges rather education is a
subject that is paid least attention to in the whole South Asian region, but that should not be the case.
The vision the present government has for the educational sector of Pakistan by 2030, is that the
vocational and technical numbers be increased to 50%. And also expects an enhance in the scale and
quality of education in general and also in scientific/technical education.
This vision although seems hard to attain, is definitely not impossible. The only problem is that the
government and the educational committee do not recognize the flaws in the system that need
immediate attention. A few of these main issues are the utilization of the infrastructure, the capacity
issues, the standards of textbooks and its content.
Other than this, the faculty hiring process also needs to be revised, and more investments need to be
made in teachers training as they are the one who shape the innocent minds and need to be more
professionally competent. Then, we also have inside school challenges such as shortage of teachers, not
having substitute teachers available, lack of friendly environment and lack of a healthy student-teacher
relationship. And, if we focus on the gender gap in the educational sector an entire new set of problems
arises such as shortage of schools, distance, insecure environment, harassment, poverty and uninformed
parents etc.
There is definitely a need for better legal mechanisms to implement educational policy to work for the
2030 vision, but it is not an impossible target to reach. The educational committee needs to stays focused
and devoted to promote free and good quality education amongst the youth, even if it means coming up
with different budget strategies or using help from international organizations. The more the discussions
will take place on a global level, the more improvement and international attention we can expect on the
educational sector of the South Asian Region.
"Education Youth Ambassadors Programme | Right To Education Pakistan [RTE Pakistan, Article
25A]". rtepakistan.org. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, Constitution of Pakistan (1973; in English)