Implementation of compulsory education law demanded

KARACHI: The government of Sindh has been requested to take necessary measures to ensure education to every child and implement compulsory education law in this regard.

A delegation of children, comprised of 25 members of Children’s Councils from different government schools held a meeting with Senior Minister Education and Literacy Nisar Ahmed Khuhro under the umbrella of Foundation for Research & Human Development in the compliance of Global Action Week Vote for Education.

The children complained about the hardships they face as government school students and demanded to provide the government schools across the province state-of-the-art infrastructure, take strict actions against ghost teacher, introduce practical skills in the syllabus, ensure that private schools comply by the mandatory 10 percent quota for underprivileged children and victims of terrorism, encourage schoolchildren to take part in extra-curricular activities and provide them with essential facilities including playgrounds, take measures to reduce gender disparity among schoolchildren and provide stipend to male along with female students too. They also demanded improve the state of teachers’ training in the province.

The children demanded that child labourers, beggars and street children should also have access to basic education as per the free education act and needy boys should also be given stipends along with girls to encourage them to attend school.

Briefing the legal status of children’s demands Program Manager FRHD Adil Tufail said that Sindh was the first province to enact and pass legislation the Sindh Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act 2013 in light of Article 25-A of the Constitution.

According to the law, all children whose parents cannot afford to pay for education, or have become victims of terrorism, shall be enrolled for free in private schools, where they will form ten percent of the total class. Every school will now have to constitute a management committee of government representatives, teachers and school principals to ensure that the policy is implemented. Both the school management and the parents can be fined or imprisoned if the law is not followed. Moreover, children would also be exempted from paying any extra fee or expenses that may prevent them from pursuing secondary education. He added, legislation should be enforced in province.

Discussing the availability of financial resources Executive Director FRHD , Nazra Jahan said that for 2014-2015 the Sindh government has allocated Rs. 145 billion towards education; a Rs. 10 billion increase from last year. As per budget documents, Rs. 500 million has been set aside for the SEMIS (Sindh Education Management Information System) while another Rs. 1.25 billion has been given to establish 23 English medium schools across various districts of Sindh.

Moreover, Rs 1 billion for student scholarships, Rs 1.75 billion for school management committees, Rs 1.54 billion for free distribution of books. He said more needs to be done, particularly concerning the implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution. Government make possible the transparent utilization of allocated budget for achieving the Millennium development goals (MDGs) and access to education for all.

Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on the occasion said that Rs120bn are spent on teachers’ salaries, so they must be sincere with students. Monitoring committees are being activated to control the teacher’s absentees and to check the appearance of them in the class room. He encourage children to take step further individually to teach the illiterate children in their surroundings. He said he is going to introduce a policy for giving 20 advance marks in the examination for those children who teach an out of school child.

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