‘Free education is obligation of state’
* Experts say poor planning, ineffective mechanism major reasons of low literacy rate
* MNA demands up to 4pc of GDP to be spent on education
ISLAMABAD: Education experts and civil society representatives on Tuesday emphasised that provision of free and quality education to people was the state’s responsibility and no excuse was acceptable in this respect.
The emphasis was made during a seminar on “Quality Education for All: End Exclusion Now” by Pakistan Coalition for Education (PEC) at a local hotel.
Shehnaz Wazir Ali MNA said during the seminar that poor planning and lack of effective mechanism were the major reasons behind low literacy rate. She said absence of proper planning and effective implementation of policies, which were a basic ingredient to upgrade any infrastructure, also caused improper utilisation of funds.
She demanded funding up to four percent of the GDP for education and emphasised that proper use of the money should be monitored.
Ali said that there must be public private partnership and the government should devise a strategy to subsidise private educational institutions, operating in the areas where the government-run institutions had failed for deliver.
She objected to the discussions in the ruling circles to abolish private education system on the pretext that it’s creating class difference. She said the government should decide per child education budget and the private sector should be patronised in the far-flung areas of the country to enhance literacy rate.
Dr AH Nayyar, an educationist, said the private sector had become a burden for the parents of students as it was comparatively providing education against high fee.
Citing a World Bank report, he said that the private sector was undoubtedly providing quality education but people in the country like Pakistan couldn’t afford to send their children to private schools.
He said the government would have to improve quality of education and patronise private institutions, as 40 per cent students were enrolled in private schools. He said the government would be unable to accommodate the students getting education in the private sector if it collapsed.
Nayyar said poor standards of education at the government institutions compelled people to send their children to private schools.
Arshad Saeed Khan of UNESCO said that Pakistan should ratify UNESCO Convention, 1960, 95 other countries of the world. He said the convention declared education everyone’s fundamental right. He said the convention helped people approach against a state if it denied them free and quality education. He said over 30 per cent children didn’t go to schools and they were deprived of their fundamental right.
Baela Raza Jamil said that poor economic conditions of parents forced them to send their children to do labour instead of sending them to schools. She said inadequate number of educational institutions was another reason, which were discouraging people as far as education was concerned. She demanded an end to political interference in the government educational institutions.