Islamabad: Experts stressed that necessary legislation and rules need to be framed for the implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution that makes the right to education as a fundamental right making it mandatory for the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from age 5 to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law.
According to a Press Release issued here on Wednesday, in PILDAT Public Forum on Enforcement of the Right to Free Education and Article 25-A of the Constitution, experts urged the Provincial Governments to increase their education budgets and the Federal government to allocate special grants to under-developed Provinces/areas to facilitate implementation of this article. Experts believed that a separate and independent system for monitoring of enforcement of Article 25-A should be evolved by the respective governments. An Islamabad Resolution on Enforcement of Article 25-A was unanimously adopted by the Forum.
Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali, MNA, former Federal Minister for Education, Senator S.M. Zafar, former Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Education, Ms. Shehnaz Wazir Ali, MNA, former Chairperson Higher Education Commission, Pir Mazhar ul Haq, MPA, Senior Provincial Minister for Education, Sindh, Ch. Javaid Ahmed, MPA Chairperson, Punjab Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Mr. Ali Sher Madad, Minister for Education Gilgit Baltistan, Mr. Mukhtiar Ali, MPA, Chairperson, KPK Assembly Standing Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, Mr. Akbar Durrani, Secretary Government of Balochistan, Mr. Fareed Qureshi, Special Secretary, Elementary and Secondary Education, KPK, Dr. Allah Buksh Malik, Provincial Secretary, Literacy and Non-formal Basic Education Punjab, Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Country Representative UNESCO, Professor Laeeq Ahmed Khan, Education Expert, Dr. Eshya Mujahid Mukhtar and Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT spoke at the Forum.
Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali said that chairman Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms Senator Raza Rabbani had assured him during discussions on 18th Constitutional Amendment that only those subjects would be devolved which were in the concurrent list. He believed that on matters like education, health and environment, there must be a federal entity overseeing and regulating these affairs for uniform standards across the country. He said that the Parliament did a shady and unwise act in passing the 18th Constitutional Amendment as it devolved subjects of national importance to provinces without deciding any federal role which has created a vacuum.
Senator S. M. Zafar, believed that this is first time that free and compulsory education is made a constitutional responsibility of the state through the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He said that responsibility is rightly given to the provinces as they are given more resources in the NFC award. He said a private member bill named Right of Free and Compulsory Education will be presented in the Parliament after the on-going Budget session. He stressed provincial representative to urgently create a suitable law for implementation of free and compulsory education.
Mazhar ul Haq, while giving Sindh’s prospective, said that education has always been a provincial subject. He believed that it is the right of the provinces to rule their people and provinces, should therefore be empowered. Provinces are very much capable of handling the subjects which are devolved to them. NFC award given to the provinces was their due right. The Sindh Government would review curriculum of class 1 to 6 this year and from class 7 to above next year. He urged everyone to move forward and help devolve more powers to provinces instead of criticizing their capacities. -Online