December 19, 2019
Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2019
LAHORE: Participants in a consultation by civil society demanded on Tuesday that education leaders and decision makers ensure access to quality education to all children under Article-25A of the Constitution without any discrimination.
Punjab Standing Committee on Education Chairperson Aisha Nawaz Chaudhry, Punjab Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming Chairperson Uzma Kardar, MPA Ayesha Iqbal, Literacy and Non-Formal Education Secretary Sumaira Samad, Adviser to Punjab Education Minister Aasiya Khurram Agha, School Education Department Additional Secretary, Women Development Department Secretary and members from Private Schools Association, civil society and academia attended the event.
The meeting measured progress in achieving SDG4 of Quality Education and implementing Punjab Free and Compulsory Education (PFCE) Act, 2014.
The participants said people were reluctant to send their children to public schools as the state had failed to provide quality education and continued to only talk about it and did nothing.
They said slow implementation of Article-25A in Punjab would impact achieving SDGs 2030 and SDG4 on education, just like MDGs in 2015 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child commitments.
The meeting discussed the strategies to come up with a way forward to address the issue through multi-dimensional strategy, including the formation of a working group to influence and ensure the PFCE Act 2014.
The participants were of the view that this consultation would serve as a liaison with the School Education Department for further consultative meetings on the development of the rules of business of the PFCE act 2014. They also sought recommendations to make the rules of business of PFCE Act gender sensitized.
A presentation on the current status of the PFCE Act, 2014 with a special focus on gender disparities was also given besides the targets and indicators of SDG4.