My name is Maryum Aftab and I am a student at the Capital University of Science and Technology (CUST), Islamabad. I got an opportunity to be a part of the Youth Ambassador training program conducted by RTE in Islamabad. Here, along with other fellow students, I became aware about the issues of the Education system of Pakistan. In the workshop we, as youth, gave positive feedback and discussed how these issues can be resolved and what our role can be in taking this campaign forward. Many of the students who attended the workshop belonged to rural areas; their commitment to participate in RTE’s cause and to make a difference in the society only strengthened after this training.
The informative nature and the interactive style of presentation made it easier to grasp concepts in depth. Overall, it was a well-prepared and well-planned training where our feedback was also asked for and valued. At the end of the presentation, we were divided in groups and chart papers were distributed to note down the strengths, weakness, and recommendations. All participants shared their views through group presentations. This activity helped not only in prompting reflection but also in giving a chance to us to connect with other participants.
I am thankful to the host organization who gave me a platform to understand, discuss and present my ideas. It was a rich learning experience and I look forward to more of such trainings in the future.
The Constitution of Pakistan has some laws to safeguard the rights of transgender people, when it comes to enforcing these laws; hardly any of them are implemented. The transgender community of Pakistan greatly suffers in terms of the societal stigma that is attached to them. They are often subjected to physical and sexual violence and not given the respect that they are striving for. They are also deprived of their Fundamental Rights, one of which is Education.
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi is a strong advocate for the Right to Education, which states that every child between the ages of 5-16 years should have access to free Education. It is the basic right of every child irrespective of their ethnicity, gender or status. Therefore, the transgender community cannot be eliminated from their right to have access to the free and quality Education that the government has promised to provide to the children of Pakistan.
By providing them with free Education and ensuring inclusivity in the Education sector, not only will their basic rights be fulfilled, but the respect that they deserve within society, where they are stigmatized the most, will be preserved. To integrate transgender children and ensure an inclusive school environment, it is vital that certain changes are made within schools. This needs to be done in order to ensure that these children do not face any discrimination that can lead to isolation resulting high drop-out rates and poor learning levels.
These changes involve making separate washrooms in schools for them so that they do not face discrimination or harassment while using public washrooms. Proper procedures and regulations should be put in place where teachers monitor and ensure that there are no incidences of bullying. Teachers should become trained and sensitized to the lives of these children so that they can educate the rest of the children to be more respectful and understanding towards them. By doing so many children who are deprived of their basic right of getting educated, because of being categorized as gender variant, can get equal access to Education.
The integration of transgender community into society needs to start in early childhood; gender sensitization needs to mainstream into society through Education. This way, these children have an improved footing to overcome the extreme socioeconomic challenges that they face, and participate in a level playing field with all other children.
Bullying is a major issue that is experienced in various schools around the world. It is defined as repeated acts of aggression by someone that can be very damaging for the victim, both psychologically and physically. It is one of the most evident and troubling issues that children face in an Education system. However, teachers and officials tend to ignore the impact bullying has on Education. There can be various reasons for bullying which include race, religion, social class, appearance and gender. Most of the time it goes unnoticed by teachers and even if it is noticed, it is either ignored or not much is done to stop it.
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi is a strong advocate for the Right to Education campaign which highlights that every child between the ages of 5-16 years should has access to free Education (Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan). In light of the Right to Education campaign, where on one hand the campaign focuses on advocating for free Education, on the other hand, ensuring safe Education environment is also consequential. Under the Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, the two most important terms used are compulsory and free Education. This means that it’s the responsibility of the State to ensure that every child needs to be educated irrespective of whether the child wants to get educated or not. Here, bullying can play a very important role in limiting the child’s access to proper Education. When children are bullied at school they feel unsafe and are not able to concentrate; this affects their educational environment and, hence, performance, resulting in recurring school absenteeism.
Therefore, it is very important that in the Right to Education campaign, where children have access to free Education, they should also be provided with safe school environments. Teachers and administrators should monitor the classroom environment and, in case if they notice bullying, immediate interventions must be undertaken to prevent it. They should also promote a culture of inclusion and respect within the students and through story-telling and group activities educate the children on the harmful effects of bullying. Proper rules should be made and their implementation must be ensured. Once bullying is stopped, a safe and healthy school environment can be provided to the students which can enhance their educational achievements.
With a significant proportion of Pakistan’s children still out of school, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) is playing its part to invoke the state to fulfill its legal and diplomatic responsibilities as per Article 25-A and its obligation to the SDGs. ITA’s Right to Education (RTE) Campaign envisions provision of equitable, accessible, free and quality Education to all children according to Article 25A and SDG4.
As part of its campaign to spread awareness, the Right to Education team asked children to vocalize their concerns for Education and participate in a social media campaign by sharing videos. RTE’s team reached out to children from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographical areas. Whether they belonged to urban Lahore or the rural outskirts of Gujranwala, whether they could afford private school fees or not, one thing remained constant: this was their chance for a better tomorrow. Better for themselves, better for their families, and better for their nation. In their native languages, they spoke about the importance of Education as a need and a Fundamental Right of every child. These languages included Pashto, Sindhi, Arabic, English, and Urdu. Children took a stand for their right, sometimes dressed in traditional caps and frocks. Their enthusiasm further reverberated through the videos by their excited tones and gestures. The videos were shared on RTE’s Twitter and Facebook pages, and can be watched here.
While every child must be aware of his/her right to receive free Education, many children continue being deprived of it. In some areas, there are no schools, while in others there is lack of provision of quality Education. In other areas financial or cultural constraints become a barrier. Boys are expected to earn for the family while girls bear much of the brunt owing to gender discrimination and child marriages.
To document this, another video delved deeper. Interacting with administration and students of a charity-based school, one could see how far these children have come. Children as young as those of second grade proudly read aloud sentences in English and Urdu and did simple mathematical calculations. The hopeful gleam shone in their eyes; during private discussions too, they had mentioned their previous occupation as child laborers. Little girls, usually daughters of daily wage laborers and maids, reflected on a tough life: much of their day was spent in assisting their mothers in cleaning the house and washing dishes and clothes. A 10-year old boy when asked why he thinks Education is important said, “So I can give back to Pakistan what this school has given to me.” This vlog can be viewed here.
THE tenth annual What Kids are Reading Report released earlier this year in the UK got educationists worried. After surveying a million primary and secondary schoolchildren, the author of this document concluded that the country faced a persistent problem of getting young teenagers “to read challenging and age-appropriate books”.
It is now suggested that the secondary school pupils should benefit by having 15 to 30 minutes of time for independent reading integrated into the school curriculum.
For long, it has been believed that the axiom “practice makes perfect” could not hold true for anything more than literacy. The more you read the better your language skills become.
Where are Pakistan’s children on the reading scale? In the absence of professional and standardised surveys it is difficult to assess our children’s reading habits. But casual inquiries and random observation show that our children are not too excited by books. When we speak of the reading culture, what is really important is to determine how much and what people are reading in their leisure time for pleasure.
Where are Pakistan’s children on the reading scale?
Reading — actually memorising — textbooks is not what we mean by the book reading habit. That is what is lacking in Pakistan and it shows in the low intellectual calibre of our people and the poverty of our intelligentsia.
The poor literacy skills of our students also betray our negligence of the book culture. The last Annual Status of Education Report of 2016 revealed that only 52 per cent of children in Grade 5 could read a story of Grade 2 level in a local language. Tests for English reading skills for students of Grade 5 showed worse results. Only 46pc could read sentences in English designed for Grade 2.
Some critics feel that the reading habit cannot grow when good books are not being published. But even in this bleak scenario, once in a while one comes across a book for children that cheers the heart.
One example is the recently released bilingual book (in Urdu and English) titled Jingles in the Jungle. Written by Rumana Husain, the award-winning author of 60 books for children, Jingles is a lively account of animals and how they sing in their own ‘language’ and dance in harmony to inspire humans to create soul-soothing music. Elegantly illustrated — Rumana is a graphic designer too — this 20-page book would attract any young reader who gets to see it.
But just as one swallow does not a summer make, a single well-produced book does not create a book culture. So one may well ask, why can’t we have more such books and of course more advanced ones for older children? Moreover, Jingles costs a hefty Rs500. How many can buy books at this rate on a regular basis?
According to Sana Shahid, a manager at Paramount Books, the price of books is on the rise and selling books, whether for adults or children, is a mighty challenge. She adds that children are not reading many books.
In a class of 20, only five would be buying books on a regular basis to read and only one would go for a book in Urdu. Since the government has done little to lower the cost of paper and printing material, books are quite inaccessible.
It is a vicious cycle in which the publishing industry is trapped. Since there are not enough readers, the economy of scale does not work to force down the price of books. As books are costly, not many people want to buy them.
Of course, this vicious cycle can be broken by the intervention of the education authorities and the schools. The answer lies in creating a network of libraries all over the country. It must be made mandatory for every educational institution to have a library and hire a qualified librarian to manage it. A dedicated librarian can inspire every student to read books. But most schools don’t have a library. The few which have one don’t always employ a librarian and the books lie gathering dust on the shelves.
But the fact is that even the best of librarians cannot make a child read a book that she doesn’t enjoy. How does one ensure the readability of books for children? By getting writers and illustrators of high quality.
With such low print runs, no publisher can pay professional writers who should receive enough in monetary terms to subsist on it. Even most popular writers have had to work in other professions to earn their living. In Pakistan, one cannot be a full-time author and lead a decent life.
So the cycle goes on. This much is clear: our nation is being destroyed because people shun books. As parents and teachers do not read books they cannot make their children/students read either.
Author:Baela Raza Jamil, Member PAL Network, CEO ITA, Member PAL Network and Commissioner, the Education Commission
Photo: KKF Model School, Shangla
Malala and Girls Education are synonymous today as a global equity is imperative. It was indeed an emotional homecoming as she touched her country’s soil on March 28, 2018, almost six years after being shot by the militants who were irked by her defiance for supporting girls’ education on October 9, 2012. Malala came ‘without fear and in peace to her homeland’ well received by the Prime Minister of Pakistan reminding him that there are many more like her. This time, she returned as a bigger Champion for Girls’ Education, a Nobel Peace Prize winner (2014), the youngest recipient ever of the prize at age 17. She has been consistent in her demand for “12 years of safe, free, quality education for every girl”, a target well reflected in the global SDGs 2030 and SDG 4; Malala campaigns for girls’ education especially the most excluded globally. Her famous tagline at the UN General Assembly in 2013, after recovery at age 16, “One child, one teacher one book and one pen can change the world” galvanized millions of supporters. Malala firmly walks the talk and she stands behind her convictions through the Malala Fund established in 2013. The Malala Fund has been supporting important programs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kenya Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, the latter three to support the Syrian Refugees.
Few may know, but Malala began her work in Pakistan in 2013, targeting elimination of ‘child domestic labor’ through education. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) center for education and consciousness was the implementing partner. She began her actions closest to home in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Forty young girls were identified who were engaged in child domestic labor as young as 5 years of age to be enrolled in ‘Saba Ranra (Let there be light)’ centre, a bridge program established in Malala’s former school in Mingora. All expenses were supported by the Malala Fund (then, at a nascent stage), including transport, books, uniforms, nutrition, health check-ups and stipends. Citizen led assessment (ASER) tools and accelerated learning interventions were implemented to fast track learning for these girls. Malala braved to become a champion for ending child domestic labor (CDL), classified as the worst form of child labor under ILO convention 182. CDL is still not accorded that classification in Pakistan under the Employment of Children’s Act 2001 or the Restriction on Employment of Children Act 2016. This resistance persists in spite of well-known characteristics of CDL being invisible in its abuse, as it takes place behind closed doors, prone to violence and with majority being girls. The recent case of brutal torture of 10-year-old Tayyaba, employed as a CDL at a serving sessions judge home in Islamabad, deprived of all basic rights has been under public attention for 18 months. In spite of prison sentences passed against the powerful employers, they remain ‘free as they wait to appeal the verdict” Tayyaba, continues to live under state protection and care; she dreams of becoming a teacher! Malala knows the pain that Tayyaba and millions like her suffer, convinced that the fundamental right to education is the best protection.
“Progress in education has come to a standstill” 263 million children, adolescents & youth worldwide (or one in every five) are out school, and over 50% are girls”.
Malala is a vigorous advocate for Girls education without any discrimination due to ‘gender, ethnicity, location, poverty, disability and migration status’. She is fully committed to Equity and fairness principles, for targeting such groups and measurement of progress/constraints. These are well covered in the recently released Handbook on Measuring Equity in Education (March 2018) by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) providing practical and precise solutions to the ‘wicked’ problems of targeting and measurement of impact and best returns on investment.
Pakistan continues to struggle with her commitments to educate all children aged 5-16 years as a constitutional fundamental right since 2010, the same age group closest to Malala’s global campaign. According to ASER 2016, 21 percent out of school children are in the age group 5-16 and more importantly, only 52 percent and 48 percent of grade 5 children can cope with grade 2 competencies in Urdu and Arithmetic respectively. Lack of post primary opportunities, especially for girls, constrain progress to achieve right to education and SDG 4 targets.
Malala is fighting for education of the most vulnerable globally, be it the Chibok girls, Syrian refugees, the war torn areas of Afghanistan, one of the most deprived district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shangla where through her fund the KKF Model School for girls was constructed, opening doors in March 2018 just prior to her recent visit to Pakistan.
ASER Pakistan, the citizen led household based assessment survey (2016) for Shangla district reports 23 percent children out of school of which 1 7 percent are girls with acute learning gaps! Attention to Shangla district through support from the Malala Fund illustrates her commitment to investing in education as the only catalytic force for raising girls capabilities and voice. Malala Fund has supported the Gul Makai Network, a campaign for girl advocates. Malala reaches out to geographies where ‘girls are under attack’; she manages that time from her Oxford University academic commitments. Her message remains simple, consistent and powerful; ‘girls and women can only become empowered through quality Education’.
From her days of ‘Gulmakai diaries as a 9-year-old (2009-12) to Nobel Prize winner Malala at 17; from Mingora, Swat to Birmingham to Oxford, it is an incredible journey. Malala turns 21 years on July 12, 2018 with many ‘firsts’ to her credit. She has ambitions to educate the most marginalized backed by the Malala Fund programs supported by many alliance partners including GPE, UNESCO, Starbucks, Apple and many more. Whenever she appears at the United Nations General Assembly, or to receive awards/Nobel Prize, she never forgets her peers from Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon. She knows that this is a collective battle where all frontline fighters must be given space and recognition. ITA as member of the People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network, operating in 14 countries held sessions around her powerful film “I am Malala” at teachers and children’s literature festivals across Pakistan. Malala is about making the ordinary into extraordinary; turning grief to hope, daring to believe in her convictions, backed by action and always without fear.
She inspires many billions today, and whilst she is Pakistan’s daughter rooted in this soil, Malala is a shared global public good; a force and Champion across many countries and continents giving the same simple message ‘quality learning of ALL girls and women at all costs for a minimum of 12 years of education”. She is forceful and transformative; watch her as an ever towering, unassuming global activist for education, capabilities, and entitlements.
Today June 12 World Day Against Child Labor in Pakistan. It must be celebrated with the Landmark 46 page Judgement in Tayyaba’s case – the tragic story of Child Domestic Labor in Pakistan that continues to be off the list of Worst Forms of Child Labor in all laws across Pakistan – I wish the judgement had also cited reference to why Pakistan is violating ILO Convention 182 to which it is a signatory on ending Worst Forms of Child Labor.. But delighted to see after my sit in at one of the hearings that the Honorable Judges of the HC’s division bench Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Minagul Hassan Aurangzeb dismissed the former Additional District & Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar’s application challenging conviction and sentence. Instead, the division bench has enhanced the sentence from one year to three years..Superb judgement – that needs to become a much cited reference and compulsory read for students /researchers on child labor and child domestic labor . Wake up Govt of Pakistan and its caretakers – provide relief to our Children Please! There will be no solution until the Govt. also implements Right to Education a fundamental constitutional provision for All children 5-16 years of age under 25 A and provincial /areas laws. Why is the obvious so elusive? Why-STOP genocide of our children by denying them education /learning and pushing them into child labor and its worst forms!
Parents, Society and State are all in collusion against our Tayyabas .. yes ALL .. Let us begin a BISP social safety net – a conditional cash transfer to the poorest to stop child labor- Waseela -e-Tahhafuz -e-Itfaal or something – Why Not!
Our amazing human rights and legal heroes for the Tayyaba case Tahira Abdullah, Adv. Wajahat Ali and Mr. R. Y. Karim kudos to them- saluting them all 10,000 times! Thank you for your actions!
ILO’s statement for today says “No child under the age of 18 should perform hazardous work as stipulated in the ILO’s Conventions on child labour, namely the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) . They require governments, in consultation with the social partners, to establish and enforce a national list of hazardous work prohibited for children. Ratification of these Conventions by 171 and 181 ILO member States respectively – close to universal ratification – reflects a commitment to end child labour in all its forms. It is time to step up action”.
Will Pakistan stand by its commitments to children? Will we have a compassionate society that grants mercy to its children from torture and tyranny of the worst kind?
Baela Raza Jamil
Commissioner –Education Commission
When the Prime Minister of a country decides to open an education conference to tackle the learning crisis for South Asia – home to almost 2 billion people – it speaks volumes about the high priority the sector is receiving to support the democratization and development of the region. The message was clear when Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said, “We need to be bold and ambitious to embrace the learning needs of 40 percent of Nepal’s population below the age of 16 years – this is the wisest of investments. Let us not forget our pathways to solutions that honour heritage, resilience and innovations of our region.” This was a great preface and connector to the core messages of The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world, an action plan for the largest expansion of educational opportunity in history. The Learning Generation report (2016) sets out a bold agenda to get all young people into school and learning within a generation through a focus on four transformations: 1) investing for performance, 2) innovation, 3) inclusion, and 4) more and better financing. Two weeks ago, UNICEF and the Education Commission co-hosted the Learning Generation conference in Kathmandu to introduce countries to the delivery approach and tools to accelerate education reform and results.
Prime Minister of Nepal Khadga Prasad Oli opening conference in Kathmandu with Regional Director for UNICEF South Asia Jean Gough. Photo: UNICEF
This three-day high-level conference brought together over 80 participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and included Ministers and Secretaries of Education from both the national and state level.
Partnerships lie at the heart of any actionable agenda for human development. This conference, with its powerful mix of relevant leaders from government (education, finance, planning, and development), civil society, researchers, and development partners, focused on how to accelerate progress in education and achieve SDG4, giving priority to those children most at risk of being excluded from learning. I was proud to wear multiple hats at this gathering, simultaneously representing the Education Commission as a Commissioner, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) as CEO, and the People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL-Network) as an active member.
Regional Director for UNICEF South Asia Jean Gough appropriately framed the challenge: “While impressive strides have been made in achieving universal primary education, we have a learning crisis in South Asia with only about half of the primary-aged children receiving education with minimum learning standards. We need much greater investment and increased quality education for girls and boys alike if we hope to see the next generation reach their full potential.”
The UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Education Commission Chair Gordon Brown and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore both sent messages to the conference to champion and mobilize many more in South Asia to #MakeImpossiblePossible and get all young people in school and learning within a generation.
Participants at the Nepal Learning Generation Workshop. Photo: UNICEF
The conference created a platform for participants to share proven approaches for scaling up and improving education performance in the region, in particular with the “delivery approach.” The delivery approach aims to turn national plans and reforms into tangible education results by tackling service delivery challenges. This methodology is designed to achieve better and faster implementation, and requires critical ingredients such as committed political champions, a laser focus on a small number of defined priorities, rigorous performance monitoring, the use of data to keep delivery on track and resolve problems as they arise, and a team to drive accountability at all levels of the system. The workshop allowed participants to learn about the approach together and apply principles to real-life examples. For me, the biggest result was country demand to adapt the approach in specific ways to their context, from testing it at district level to applying it to enhance delivery of sector reforms.
The Maldives shared its commitment to ‘early years’; Bhutan emphasized inclusion to ensure no child is left behind; and other countries highlighted initiatives on equity and gender challenges to end child marriages, improve efficiency of resources, good governance, workforce diversification, ICTs and 21st century skills – issues all well aligned with the Learning Generation’s four transformations.
Active participation from UNICEF-ROSA, the Asian Development Bank, UK’s Department for International Development, the Global Partnership for Education, and UNESCO kept high energy flowing with particular attention paid to unique contexts, and the complexity and granularity of data for unique solutions. It was reassuring and thought-provoking to learn from each country’s initiatives and challenges.
I could not help but take great pride in two case studies shared at the conference. First, the selection of Punjab, Pakistan as a success story in adopting the delivery approach with impressive metrics of transformation. Taimur Jhagra, who spent seven years with the Punjab program, presented the case study powerfully and shared core practices of the approach along with a senior colleague from Punjab’s School Education Department (SED), Mr. Mustaque Sial. The remarkable improvements in education outcomes, much of this achieved in the last three years, speak for themselves. In Punjab province, an additional three million children are in school attending 95 percent of the time; teachers are attending 95.5 percent of the time; 99 percent of schools have basic infrastructure, including water and power; and most impressively, average learning outcomes in Urdu, English, and maths have increased from 55 to 77 percent.
Second, a repeated reference to ASER Pakistan’s citizen-led assessments as a benchmarking tool for learning and missing facilities as well as the main influence for the tech-enabled assessment Learning and Numeracy Drive (LND) for measuring competencies of Grade 3 students by the Government of Punjab at scale (1.5 million students) was another source of pride. The recently produced ASER report cards on education performance of political parties mapped to their manifestos were also used during exercises for the Pakistan team, another powerful data-driven initiative of Idara-e-Taleem-o-aagahi (ITA). These are indeed profound testimonials of a journey validated at national, regional, and global levels.
As a Commissioner, I felt tremendous satisfaction at the high quality of engagement of participants, their appetite for reform and innovation, and prospects for concrete action once they returned home. This could not have been possible without the leadership and convening power of the Education Commission and UNICEF South Asia. With the successful launch in New York of the campaign for the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) in the same week as our workshop halfway around the world in Nepal, global momentum is building to create additional financing opportunities that could drive real education results in our region, and #MakeImpossiblePossible.
Baela Raza Jamil CEO, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and Commissioner, the International Commission on Financing Education Opportunity
As promised Part 2 My Comments on The Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) 2017-18. PES-Chapter 10 on Education -(pp 153 -163 ) like each year is a reference marker for many in country and abroad. It is important because it is an election year as well. The chapter has some good features but leaves one wondering how the selection of content was made, was the scribe in a hurry? Are we going forward or not? Why are we stuck on quoting obsolete figures, that undermines the sector? I, and many others in the sector see the glass half full, but that message does not come through. I shall address 3 key areas, viz. SDG 4 integration in national targets; expenditure and provincial coverage for starters. I. The first page (p.153) is dedicated to the ‘localization of SDGs 2030’ with a National Framework, mapped to SDG 4, National Targets, Indicators, Baseline (2014/15) & Target 2030. It will help to integrate planning, implementing and tracking of SDG 4. There are challenges of consistency, selection and accuracy. E.g. in d) Target 2030. One of the means of implementation for SDG 4 or 4.a is written inclusively as “Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all”. The National indicators selected are: “Proportion of schools with access to : (a) electricity: (b) the Internet for pedagogical purposes; (c) computers for pedagogical purposes; (d) adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; (e) basic drinking water; (f) single sex basic sanitation facilities; and (g) basic hand washing facilities (as per the WASH indicator definitions)”. But sadly, the National Baseline Indicators given are only for Primary School Infrastructure with Electricity=53.0%; Drinking Water= 67.0%;Sanitation=67.0%! not even boundary walls (indicator for protection)are included? But why were facilities in middle and secondary schools excluded which have many of these ‘National Indicators’ in good order? Why are we undermining our progress? Punjab and KP have done extremely well in this area over the past 5 years –data is well recorded too, yet they are not reflected in this imp. document! & the same figures of the baselines are repeated in endline or 2030 targets too!
II. It was really sad to see that the Expenditure on Education as a percentage of GDP registered a decline in FY 2017 (pp. 157-58) at a time when we are shouting from the rooftops that we have recorded the highest GDP growth rate in 10 years at 5.4%! So where is education in this glory, does it not deserve to be a solid citizen deserving progressive expenditure trends? No matter how we cut it 2.2% of GDP recorded as expenditure in 2016-17 is a notch down from 2015-16 at 2.3% and fails all promises made by political parties of raising this from 4-6%! This is what our leaders have been saying all along and the National Education Policy 2009 promised 7%! It is also not surprising to see the headlines of the UNDP’s National Human Development Report (NHDR) Unleashing the potential of a Young Pakistan launched on May 2, 2018, that 76.9 % of our adolescents/youth (15-29 years) drop out of schools. This is mainly because we have a severe shortage of institutions beyond the depleted/low functioning primary facilities as noted above. Post primary facilities in Pakistan need a huge investment through a new design frame so eloquently noted by Faisal Bari yesterday (co-author of the NDHR)
Primary 169.6 Middle 49.1 High 31.6 Higher Sec: 5.1. Degree Colleges: 1.4 TVET: 3.8 Universities 0.185
Source: Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18 (Table 10.1 )
A quick look at the table given in the PES 2017, reveals that in 2016-17, compared to Primary institutions (169,600) there are only 49100 middle schools, 19% (31,600) high schools, 3% (5100) higher secondary schools, 1400 degree colleges and 3800 TVET institutions and 185 universities! The disappearing landscape of opportunities means that choices fade for youth and cultural barriers keep getting higher as encapsulated in the survey of 130,000 youth for the NDHR http://www.pk.undp.org/…/human-development-repo…/PKNHDR.html); “.less than 10 per cent of women feel they have control over who they marry and when. Almost 80pc of youth do not have access to parks, 95pc or so do not have access to libraries, 97pc have not been to a live music event, 94pc have not been to a sports event, 93pc do not have access to sports facilities, 97pc have not been to a cinema and over 70pc reported that they did not have any of the above” (Bari 3rd May 2018) https://www.dawn.com/news/1405551. A majority of them want second chance opportunity to improve education and skills. With 64% of population below the age of 30 years, Pakistan has the largest generation of youth 29% (15-29 years) ever recorded in its history making it one of the youngest countries in the world! This is a huge opportunity where Education and skills has to be a game changer and for that sustained resources are needed first and foremost at the domestic level that are well targeted for outcomes and spent with high returns. This resonates with the four core pillars of the Learning Generation urging high and sustained domestic financing at 97% with additional resources from international financing opportunities along with, high performance delivery plans that work, innovations and inclusion. www.educationcomission.org
III. As I mentioned earlier that this chapter mentions provinces only in passing, in the section on Development Programs FY 2018 (p. 159) at federal and provincial levels sharing allocations by level of education However, as an anchor national document, it does not do justice to what the provinces are doing in their customized sector reforms, producing outcomes and acknowledging challenges. We miss this completely in the 10 pages with almost the remaining pages (pp. 159-162) allocated to technical vocational initiatives with merely 345,000 enrolment in 3800 institutions nationwide, a sector that needs huge acceleration with care for our rather sad adolescents/youth. The missing information on provinces was also lamented by Mustaq Rajpar in his piece Budgeting Education in the News https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/311840-budgeting-education
* Right to Education -Article 25 A a Score Card, 8 Years from 2010
“The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 5-16 years in such a manner as may be determined by law”
Did justice really get delivered to Tayyaba on April 17, 2018? If it did, it was very effervescent, would you all agree? The perpetrators of violence against the child are people of financial and legal substance, knowing very well how to manipulate the system. However, for our child rights defenders, the judgement is a ‘victory’, as they abided by the rule of law, and shall do so for the next round to pin down the criminals. But why did Tayyaba end up as a child domestic laborer? That question pushes us to look at our perforated system of child protection where the two foremost sheilds of support for the child, the family and the education system remain very fragile. Tayyaba fell through the cracks of both institutions. Despite ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labor(WFCL) to which Pakistan is a signatory, ‘child domestic labor’ is yet to make it to I82 WFCL list in our country! Why?
“Tayyaba”, I am taking refuge in you today to write about the right to education as it is the 8th anniversary of Article 25 A in our Constitution that finally guaranteed ‘education as a fundamental right” for all children 5-16 years of age. That is you Tayyaba, a right that you did not get so far in your life. 25 A was granted to us through a wonderful democratic dispensation as part of the comprehensive 18th Amendment which brought about many substantive shifts within the 1973 Constitution and also for the education sector in Pakistan. To date, those shifts are not fully understood; the Federal Concurrent List was abolished making education along with 46 other important subjects completely provincial, (or almost); this led to the closing down of 17 federal ministries. Perhaps, that was an overkill, as many would agree; there are plenty of relevant articles in the Fourth Schedule of the Federal Legislative List Part I and II extending important responsibilities for the federal government. For education, the subjects at federal level include; “external affairs-implementation of treaties and agreements including education and cultual pacts and agreements with other countries (1); libraries….(15) ..research, for professional and technical training. .promotion of special studies (16);..Pakistani students in foreign countries (and vice versa) (17) international treaties, conventions and agreements (32). These are no doubt important work areas with accountability for the federal government.
Education was fully devolved to the provincial governments, allowing them complete decision making powers for: curriculum, syllabus, policies, planning, standards, centres of excellence and implementation. In the period of adjustment to devolution, from 2010 -2015, the provincial governments courageously crafted their sector plans and targets, raised the budgets for education to 20%+ of the total annual budget and made appropriate laws. At the federal level, post 18th Amendment, the former Federal Ministry of Education was wrapped up in March 2011, but was soon resurrected in July 2011. Now it is well entrenched as the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training working on several fronts including Policy, Standards, Curriculum, Assessments, TVET, Monitoring and Federal/Inter Provincial coordination through the Inter Provincial Education Ministerial Conference (IPEMC). The question is, whether this spectrum of federal work areas is part of the mandate or not, but more importantly how do we see the federation pushing the urgency of 25 A/ right to education.
Well Tayyaba I wish I had better news for you regarding the scorecard on 25 A after 8 years. Our state is responsible through all its organs to provide right to education for the said age group. This means, provincial, local, federal govts. and other state bodies who must ensure a fundamental constitutional right.
Legal & Implementation Status 25 A, Right to Education (RTE) in Pakistan
Year of 25 A Enactment
No. of Articles
Rules in place Y/N
Local Govt. Acts & Education
Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
2013 –Schedule II Libraries /Reading Rooms
Not in place(NIP)
2013- Schedule II Part II compulsory functions:Adult Lit & Primary
2010 – Fifth Schedule-Urban,Rural.Dist Councils Pri/Adult/ hostels etc.
2013 -Chapt XI. Dist.Education Authority(DEA)
2013- Dist. & Chapt. VII. Village & Neighbourhood Council 1st Sched. Part A Pri/Sec/Vocational/Adult Lit./Special Ed
Laws for 25-A have been passed in the four provinces and Islamabd Capital Territory (ICT) but only Sindh has rules made and notified. Implementation has yet to begin and FATA/Gilgit Baltishtan do not have legal coverage for 25 A as yet. Alif Ailaan, a powerful research and advocacy platform has published five year provincial reports , sharing targets met and those missed; more than 22 million children are still out of school grossly violating 25 A. And Tayyaba, we all know that it is not just enrolment that is the target of 25 A, but more importantly, children’s learning outcomes; that is sadly another tragic story in Pakistan. So are we taking 25 A seriously? The political parties promised a lot on education in their manifestoes; some did deliver too, whilst others did not! With these large number of children not in school, clearly education is still not a priority area in Pakistan, home to 208 million people! The politicians will soon come knocking on your door, asking for votes in the upcoming general elections, but please do make your parents ask them, if they are committing to Article 25 A and its implementation. Yes make sure that your voice counts!
Tayyaba, I know you have gone through a lot already in a short lifespan, but you must demand your rights; there are millions more who need protection through education. You are well known and must raise your voice for many more children, so that you can make dreams come alive; to learn, to become, to grow and to be happy and strong in our country.
Implementation is imperative for 25 A; the society must push the ‘state’ to perform its minimum fundamental obligations, and education is both fundamental and a catalyst for achieving many more essential rights.
Baela Raza Jamil –RTE & ASER Teams
CEO –Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA)
Right to Education Initiatives 2018
19th April 2018 – Pakistan