Article 25-A: Right to Education


Article 25-A: Right to Education

Pakistan faces many challenges in education; these include huge disparities in opportunities, particularly for the rural poor and girls, poor quality education, low enrollment and completion rates, high drop-out rates and low levels of transition to secondary education. There are 7.261 million children out of school at the primary level, and 58% are female[1], and overall all estimates of 5-16 year olds who are out of school go up to 20 million children. This is a matter of deep concern for Pakistan. It speaks of emerging and critical social imbalance, calls for urgent, radical and revolutionary changes with respect to future financing and investment in education in the context of macroeconomic constraints, forces the country to make hard choices between focused and obligatory coverage of all its children as part of their fundamental right.

 

Article 25-A (the Right to Education) has been inserted in the chapter of the fundamental rights of the Constitution as part of the 18th Constitutional amendment under which “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” The amendment to the constitution is the first step; it is now imperative that efforts be made for making a law for the provision of this right and simultaneously work towards its implementation.

 

25-A has not been implemented yet. In fact some of its implications have not even been clearly thought through. But work will have to start quite soon on its implementation as it is already a part of our Constitution. We need significant changes in laws, rules, procedures, administrative practices before 25-A can be implemented. It also has significant institutional, budgetary and human resource implications for the state. In addition, the 18th Amendment also removed the concurrent list from the Constitution making education a completely provincial subject. So, the implications of 25-A will have to be worked out by each province.

 

There are a few specific points to be made here:

 

25-A stipulates that all 5-16 year olds have a right to ‘free’ education. What does ‘free’ mean? Cost of education is not just tuition fee costs. There is cost of other charges like admission fees and other incidental fees. There are expenses on uniforms and books/stationery. These are all costs of education. Is 25-A giving the right to ‘free’ education in the sense of covering all costs of education or just tuition fees? And finally, even if one ignores the opportunity cost of education for children, which might be very important for some households, but which we can ignore given laws against child labour, there is still cost of transportation that is a ‘cost’ of education. If the distance to school is substantial, and/or if it is not possible to walk to the school for distance or other reasons, there can be a substantial cost involved in getting to the school and back. If the objective of 25-A is to ensure education for all children then clearly ‘free’ will need to look at the total cost that a child/parent has to bear for being educated.

The other very important aspect of 25-A is the ‘compulsory’ part. Compulsory has an element of ‘compulsion’ in it. It means that the state has to ensure that every child, between the age of 5-16, is getting an education. It does not matter if the child wants to be educated or not, it does not matter if the parent/guardian has an opportunity cost for the child to be in school, the state and society have to ensure that every child is being educated. Compulsion implies liability too. Children cannot be legally liable as they are not considered to be fully responsible for their actions. But their guardians are. If a guardian/parent is not sending a child to school, the parent will be liable. In the same manner, if the state is not able to provide reasonable access to educational facilities, it should be liable too.

 

One of the unstated but most important aspects of 25-A, will be the notion of what constitutes ‘reasonable and acceptable standard’ of education that the state is required to provide under 25-A. Clearly if we are going to ensure universality and, when needed, exercise compulsion, educational provision needs to be of some minimal acceptable standard. This will surely include facilities that make for a reasonable environment for providing education: boundary walls, reasonable rooms, functioning toilets, reasonable level of security, good access, and so on and so forth. If this is not defined by the government, on its own, it will get challenged and then the courts will have to either define it themselves or will force the state to do it.

 

Given the size of the task in ensuring the implementation of 25-A, clearly it is not going to be possible to implement it over a year or so. Governments will need medium to long term plans for its implementation.

For implementation of Article 25-A: Right to Education, our Education Partners have started One Million Signature Campaign to demand for free and compulsory education. The link for online signatures is: http://safedafed.org/signatures/

It is important that education is acknowledged as the First Priority by the state/provincial/federal governments, parliamentarians, Prime Minister & the President, and the political parties campaigning in 2012; the demand includes Six Actions on an urgent basis:

1.      Draft Legislation NOW in all Provinces & Federal Areas for the Right to Education which shall comprehensively address issues of access, quality and equity for ALL Children of Pakistan (5-16);

2.      Ensure that the legislation defines NORMS for quality education services, roles, responsibilities and the implementation process explicitly;

3.      Commit that the drafting of the law undergoes a transparent process of nationwide debate and consultation;

4.      Allocate at least 4% of the GDP for education provision across Pakistan immediately more than doubled from the current 1.7% – making education as the No. 1 Priority;

5.      Devise mechanisms for allocating 70% of budget for Article 25-A; its effective and timely release and utilization of resources allocated for education;

6.      Inclusion of Right to Education for Quality learning outcomes in the manifestoes of all political parties.

 

 

Nargis Sultana – Program Officer, Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI)

 

Zara Sochiye Transforming Education in Pakistan campaign provides platform for different voices to be amplified.  The views expressed in these blogs and articles belong to the author. Towards this end, Zara Sochiye encourages constructive alternate views, comments and feedback.



Nargis Sultana

A Program Officer, Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI).


  • FAROOQ.M.HASHMI

    Perhaps, the faculty of thinking of us all, is numbed. That’s why only one blog has appeared since Miss Nargis Sultana had posted her article,more than a month ago.

  • adil Hashmi

    Is this reward for my studies ?????????????

    “I did my M.Sc in Psychology from Punjab university and get 2nd position in my session. I was appointed as internee through National Internship Program on 21 April 2011 My NIP reference no is 17218 and higher education department appoint me in Govt Islamia College Civil Lines Lahore I work there for 5 months and get my experience letter, my contract was for one year but after 5 months they cancel program after saying that they have not enough funds to run this program i did not get Salary of my 5 working months, i did my job with all my efforts, if this will happen with the persons getting master degree then i want to question u that what can i expect from this country i did not work through these 5 months and make expense from my own pocket No job opportunity available for me, On one side Government of the Pun jab is distributing laptops and doing other reforms but who have done masters and done their intern ship they are unable to give their pay, pun jab government is saying that federal ministry of NIP is not giving fund, would somebody tell me what is my fault and the persons like me who have not take their salary of 5 months working no body here to help me whether high court had also order to release pay but after 7 months me and other persons related with NIP are still waiting for their pay is this justice now you have to justify that what is happening with the highly qualified youth of this nation i hope you will help at any forum to solve this issue my contact no is 03444565604 please help me i have all documents which i can send u i report in all complaint cells and other departments which diary no and other related documents i also have is this justice to do Masters in Pakistan ???????????

  • adil Hashmi

    Is this reward for my studies ????????????? is there any body to help me in Pakistan

    “I did my M.Sc in Psychology from Punjab university and get 2nd position in my session. I was appointed as internee through National Internship Program on 21 April 2011 My NIP reference no is 17218 and higher education department appoint me in Govt Islamia College Civil Lines Lahore I work there for 5 months and get my experience letter, my contract was for one year but after 5 months they cancel program after saying that they have not enough funds to run this program i did not get Salary of my 5 working months, i did my job with all my efforts, if this will happen with the persons getting master degree then i want to question u that what can i expect from this country i did not work through these 5 months and make expense from my own pocket No job opportunity available for me, On one side Government of the Pun jab is distributing laptops and doing other reforms but who have done masters and done their intern ship they are unable to give their pay, pun jab government is saying that federal ministry of NIP is not giving fund, would somebody tell me what is my fault and the persons like me who have not take their salary of 5 months working no body here to help me whether high court had also order to release pay but after 7 months me and other persons related with NIP are still waiting for their pay is this justice now you have to justify that what is happening with the highly qualified youth of this nation i hope you will help at any forum to solve this issue my contact no is 03444565604 please help me i have all documents which i can send u i report in all complaint cells and other departments which diary no and other related documents i also have is this justice to do Masters in Pakistan ???????????

    • Aisha Mushtaq

      To whom you are saying ..all are deaf here

  • Ahmed Kamal

    My question is addressed to the whole Pakistani nation, regarding history. Are we creating history and what history is the historian writing for us for the last 25 – 30 years. Have we ever thought that we are printing history books with Mughals, British Rule & 1947, what comes after that. After 50 years from today our kids would like to know that,”What actually happened & what our forefathers did that we are in such a dilemma”. Do we have an answer today.

    Please Zara Sochiye

  • babarnavid

    we are facing a lot of problems about education political pressure family pressure but only DCO sheikhupura is honest with us on this earth while only Allah knows how much we have to survive I send emails to many famous people for help so that we able to continue education to the poor & needy girls in a village but due to this in those 700 girls no one is Malal no body has reply me how I can believe that we are safe.

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  • M Zahid Mughal

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    Assalam o Alikum Uncle mera nam Zahid hy . Me Daska district sialkot ka rehny wala hun . Me ak greeb student hun . Mery fsc (pre-engineering) me 691 marks hen jo total ka takreeban 62.8 banty hen.Mera Board Rollnumber 107894 hy Year 2011 hy. Me Government murray college Sialkot me BS-Information Technology 3rd smester hun . Lekin whan perhany wala koe nae . Me bht he acha perhna chahta hun lekin wahan ak b computer ka permanent teacher nhe hy 3 se 4 contract base teacher hen jo sifarish se whan lagy huy hen whan contract k liy teacher rakhny k liy kabi Advertisement nhe ke gae. College me jo Contract base teacher hen un ke education b 16 year se zayada nhe. or Tjarba to bilkul b nhe. Wo teacher BS-Information Technology k 7th or 8th smester walon ko perha rhy hen or bake departments ko b Computer ke book perha rhy hen jin ko khud perhna nae ata.College ke Management bht he bure hy . Me Universty me Admission lena chahta tha lekin apnay hlat ke wja se asa nae ker sakta or ab 2 sall guzar gy hen me Admission to aj he ly lun per itny pasy nae k universty or hostle ke fee ka 10% he ada ker skun.Ye bat hqeekat hy k College k teachers kabi b BS programme nae karwa sakty . Please yan to mere kuch madad kren k me university me admission ly skun ya phir College ke halat behtr karny k liy koe ikdam kren.Warna muj jesy Greeb or Honhar Talib ilm Barbad ho jaen gy. PLease Help me God Bless you.Mere Kisi b kism ke Zroat ho me hazir hun mera Contact Number 0338145697 hy. Please jald se jald koe ikdam kren kun k wakt guzr rha hy bht teze se admission close ho rhy hen.

  • Muaz Ahmad

    Our curriculum needs revision too. Till toady the same curriculum is taught that came in to existence some 50 years ago. Our curriculum needs to be efficient and effective enough to cope up with the needs of developing world. All the provinces need to agree with a single curriculum and a uniform examination system for all so that standards of education can be same for all and the differences between provinces be eliminated. Educational system must not assess cramming abilities but the intellect and learning of students. This all need visionary,learnt and field related individuals to be art of Ministry of Educations Think Tank so that an effective education system can be put into practice.