Minister says govt committed to investing more funds in education

by: Qamar Abbas

April 19, 2024

Minister says govt committed to investing more funds in education Civil society emphasizes concrete actions to ensure the implementation of the right to education for all


Lahore   –  Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Peoples Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) organized a conference on “Fulfilling the Dream of Free & Compulsory Education (Article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan)” wherein speakers urged the government to engage relevant stakeholders, including independent education policy experts in policy-making process to develop comprehensive education policy that addresses education-related issues. Peter Jacob, Dr. A. H. Nayyar, Dr. Baela Raza Jamil, Dr. Riaz Ahmed Shaikh, Dr. Yaqoob Khan Bangash, Saqib Jillani Advocate, Raza Ali Advocate, Dr. Uzma Ashiq Khan, Abida Mukhtar, Faaria Khan, and Shafaq Minhas were among the speakers, while the provincial minister for school education Punjab, Rana Sikander Hayat also addressed the conference. Speaking on the occasion, Education Minister Rana Sikander Hayat said that the government is committed to investing more funds in education, which will be used to improve the quality of early childhood education, enhance access to technology in schools, and elevate the standard of teachers training. He reiterated that the Ministry of Education will empower school management councils to effectively address education-related issues, and introduce reforms to promote social cohesion and ensure equal learning opportunities for all students. The executive director at CSJ, Peter Jacob highlighted the challenges stemming from institutional disconnect and policy vacuum caused by a lack of coherence in policy decisions and a lack of coordination among relevant public bodies. He acknowledged the announcement of an education emergency and emphasized the need for clear strategies and measures to address the barriers and gaps in achieving the goal of inclusive and equitable quality education. He observed that the involvement of relevant stakeholders including independent experts in education policy and human rights is crucial in developing goals, targets, and actions for the upcoming education policy. Dr. Baela Raza Jamil expressed concern over the learning loss experienced by children in Pakistan, attributing to inadequate funding provided by duty bearers, and the lack of approval of rules of business, which hampers the implementation of federal and provincial laws related to the right to free and compulsory education guaranteed in Article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan. She said that the government needs to prioritize early childhood education to improve learning outcomes and language skills among children, and stressed engaging authentic stakeholders in the policy-making process to develop genuine solutions tailored to address education-related issues within the specific context. Dr. A. H. Nayyar stated that a predominant religion-specific content is present in textbooks that promotes a certain ideology which is a violation of Article 22 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan. He said that the government needs to abolish textbook boards, and offer multiple textbooks from private publishers to enhance the quality of learning, teaching, and examination, which would foster critical thinking and creative writing skills among students and teachers.