August 28, 2014
Fourth Anniversary of Article 25-A, Right to Education: April 19th 2014
Four years have passed since the birth of Article 25-A: Right to Education stating:
“The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 5-16 years in such a manner as may be determined by law”
After the 18th amendment in the constitution , which inserted Article 25-A, Right to Education (RTE) on April 19th 2010, to date, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Sindh and Balochistan have enacted the legislation in 2012/2013 for recognizing education as a national responsibility of state. The Global agenda on education as per MDGs/EFA has stated primary education as a universal birth right of every child; the right to education entitlements in our country, however, far outstrips the Universal Primary Education (UPE) provision to 10-11 years of compulsory education (5-16 years). Sadly this is not matched with budgets (still 2 % of GDP), learning, infrastructure, teacher’s adequacy, training and all such mechanisms to contribute to opportunities for quality education for children and youth of Pakistan.
According to the Annual Status of Education Report (2013), 21 % of children in rural areas of age group 5-16 are out of school; learning assessment pitched at grade two level competencies reveals that 50% of grade five level can read a sentence in Urdu/Sindhi/Pushto and 43.3% can read a sentence in English; whilst 43.2% from Class 5 can do division. According to the same source, missing facilities continue to plague our public sector schools with only 47.2% useable toilets and 63.9% drinking water in primary schools.
All these facts and figures are a grim reminder of how far we are still from our constitutional commitment and state obligation towards our children and Pakistan’s future generations. Our government made declarations of raising budgets from 2% to 4%, shifting from their earlier commitment from 2015 to 2018 during Gordon Brown’s visit on March 29th 2014. The enactments have yet to be passed for all provinces and similarly these laws are of little value if the rules and Education Advisory Councils have not been set up. Public Interest Litigations have been filed in three provinces and ICT There are many pioneers across the country fighting for the rights of out of school and in-school children but the voices have to convert into serious public action. Valuable time is passing, for the children and citizens of Pakistan to ensure initiatives backed by financial resources to make Article 25 A a ground reality.
Idara-e-Taleem o Aagahi (ITA) and Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) invite you to be a part of this petition and play as an active partner to honor this promise of committing to the Right of Education and quality learning in Pakistan. Please make sure that the state fulfills its constitutional obligations by providing Education For All so as to add dignity to our national standing among the international community.
For Pictorial View Click here