The state shall fulfill its responsibility of providing all children of age five to sixteen years free and compulsory education under the fundamental rights chapter of the constitution of Pakistan.
The RTE campaign shall invoke the state to ensure accessible, qualitative and equitable education as reflected in Article 25-A under the 18th constitutional amendment for ALL children between the age of 5 -16 years. The state and policy makers shall be duly reminded of their obligatory responsibility for the timely formation of an Education Act to provide EDUCATION FOR ALL.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) recognizes “education” as a fundamental right amongst the most important rights for survival for humans. It helps reduce poverty, child mortality, population growth and in achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy – all of which highlight its significance in forming the basis for Education for All (EFA). Education in Pakistan faces numerous challenges. The major challenge is to increase the educational attainment of its people, even to the level of its neighboring countries if not of other developing countries of the world.
Since the country’s independence Pakistan has seen varying shifts in the Education policies and laws that have been adopted. The first ever step taken to recognize the importance of education was an All Pakistan Education Conference convened in 1947 recognizing “Universal Primary Education” as imperative. This was followed by a formation of a Commission on National Education in 1959 which suggested that the educational system in Pakistan should pursue quality as an essential objective and recommended compulsory education for children till the elementary stage. This Commission followed as the basis for the National Policies on Education to follow in 1969, 1972-1980, 1992-2002 and in 2009, being followed currently. Which each passing policy the constitutional commitment also guaranteed fundamental rights to the Citizens of Pakistan. The following articles led to the Creation of ARTICLE 25-A in the constitution:
Article 37(b) – Promotion of Social Justice and eradication of social evils
“The State shall remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary education within minimum possible period.”
Article 38(d) – Promotion of Social and Economic well-being of the people
“The State shall provide basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief, for all citizens, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race, as are permanently or temporarily unable to earn their livelihood on account of infirmity, sickness or unemployment.”
Article 25A – Right to Education
“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.”
What is Right to Education (RTE) Pakistan?
RTE is an advocacy campaign for ensuring equal access of every child to quality Education. The RTE campaign stems from the unfortunate status of education in Pakistan depicted by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). It functions under the Citizens Movement for Quality Education (CMQE), an initiative of Idara-e-Taleem o Aagahi (ITA).
This campaign urges the government to implement its duty on providing free and compulsory education to ALL children between the ages of 5 -16 years under the constitution. The responsibility is not only to be claimed by the government in the center but also by the provincial legislative bodies as the subject of education has been devolved to Provinces. Additionally RTE aims to mobilize parents, teachers, students/youth and civil society in this struggle to demand free and compulsory Quality Education for ALL children.