Provinces pledge legislation on right to education
Lauding the recently passed bill in National Assembly guaranteeing free quality education for approximately 70,000 out-of-school children in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), all provincial governments reaffirmed their determination for enforcement of Article 25-A in their areas through enacting provincial bills in provincial assemblies. This consensus support for Right to Education came from all provinces during the deliberations of Inter-provincial Forum on Right to Education, organized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF here on Wednesday.
Education Ministers and key officials from provincial education departments along with educationists, Parliamentarians and Senators attended the meeting.
Dr Kozue Kay Nagata, UNESCO Representative in her opening remarks expressed confidence in Provincial governments to implement Article 25-A in their respective areas. She said, "Today's meeting will provide us an opportunity to learn about vision, and plans of Provinces. We will discuss and debate various strategies and approaches towards bringing every child into school, starting from legislation to increas- ing education budget, expanding and diversifying educational opportunities to meet learning needs of children belonging to different groups and areas." Minister of Quality Education in Balochistan, Mir Jan Changezi stressed to integrate skill-based training for students at school level. He said that science and technology is the need of the time, and the education system should mainstream technology-based skills, which can impart to decent occupation in coming days.
"It is evident that although provincial/area governments are sincere to fulfill this Constitutional ' Right to Education' in their areas but financial constraints and other developmental and administrative exigencies are hindering the process," said the Federal Minister for Education and Training,Sheikh Waqas Akram. "I appreciate the Provincial Governments which have taken concrete steps like preparing draft Bills and urge upon other provinces and Areas to expedite their efforts to convert the dream of a literate and education Pakistan into a reality", Akram further added. Some two years back, UNESCO, Islamabad facilitated preparation of the draft Bill on the "Right to Free and Compulsory Education", on the request of Senate Standing Committee.