July 17, 2012, Karachi

The session began with children presenting the One Million Signature Campaign summary and Charter of Demands to all the party representatives present.The Panel members included

  • Ms. Sharmila Farooqi (PPP)
  • Mr. Khwaja Izhar ul Hassan (MQM)
  • Mr. Muhammad Hussain Mehnti (Jamat-e-Islami)
  • Dr. Arif Alvi (PTI)

IBA Dean Dr. Ishrat Hussain moderated the panel discussion underscoring the critical challenge of governance which undermine resources and challenges of quality, access and gender gaps. The discussion was co-moderated by Baela Raza Jamil, Trustee/Advisor Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Coordinator South Asian Forum Education Development. Baela Jamil discussed key issues highlighted by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011, especially the gaps in learning, enrollment and gender.

Youth Parliamentarians Siraj Memon, Jamal Jamaee and Muhammad Haseeb Ahsen graced the event presenting the challenges of education with respect to implementation of Article 25-A. They addressed the issue of parallel systems and boards of examination as well as the medium of instruction. They highlighted the need for politicians to be forthright and commit to urgent implementation of the Article 25-A.

Ms. Sharmila Farooqi
(PPP) said that there are issues in implementing the Article 25-A on the provincial level. The budget for education was 43.36 billion in 2008/9 which has been increased by 164 % in 2012/13 and it is 20% of the total budget. She explained the level of education in government schools is not up to the mark and there are steps being taken in order to manage the issues. Female education has also been the priority of the party and measures have been taken to facilitate and encourage females to come to schools through the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF). Ms. Farooqi also mentioned a very pressing concern which was the teacher appointment in government schools. She mentioned how the World Bank is recruiting teachers in Sindh based on merit. Mr. Arif Alvi of (PTI) emphasized the importance of the Article 25-A and declared this as a fundamental right of every national. Muhammad Hussain Mehnti (Jamat-e-Islami) explained the importance of education in Islam and how the party advocates a non-discriminatory position for both girls and boys. Khwaja Izhar ul Hassan (MQM) said that the government and NGOs have to work together in order to make it possible to guarantee education in every corner of the state.
Certificates of participation were presented to the students and institutions as well as Dr. Bernadette Dean of St. Joseph’s College, Zobeida Mustafa our eminent education expert and journalist, Rattan Saleem from Right to Play and to Sadaf Zuberi for the Sindh Education Foundation for making the unique OMS campaign a success.