Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FRHD to highlight educational issues in Global Action Week

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Foundation for Research & Human Development (FRHD), as part of the Global Action Week (GAW), will organize a walk from the Scouts Headquarter to the Karachi Press Club on April 29 while a delegation, comprising of children, will meet the Sindh Education Minister, Nisar Ahmed Khoro, on April 30. 

Members of the civil society will be joining the children to convey a loud message to the policy makers, legislators and others implementing agencies about realization of the educational goals. 

Education is human rights, a public, good and a state responsibility.Pakistan remains obliged under various national and international commitments to provide quality education to children irrespective of their gender, class or religion. 

At the forefront of these declarations is the Dakar Framework of Action, signed by 163 other countries in April 2000 and the world’s leaders made a series of promises intended to guarantee education for all by 2015. 

The EFA goals consist of six broad objectives which include: provision of early childhood care and education, provision of primary and secondary education, improvement in adult and youth literacy rates, provision of vocational and technical education, eradicating gender discrimination and enhancing the overall quality of education. Pakistan’s progress towards achieving the goals have been slow to say the least. 

The education system of the country is emasculated by an inadequate number of teachers, insufficient infrastructure, lack of funds for the education sector and a constant threat of conflict, especially in FATA and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. According to the latest ASER 2014 report, approximately 61% of children aged 3-5 years in rural areas and 42% in urban areas are out of school. 

This is an alarming figure given the fact that most of the children who do enter school either drop out or do not progress further on thereby increasing the number of out of school children. There is a dire need for an intervention whereby the provincial governments formulate laws that will ensure that early childhood education is made mandatory and out of school children are brought back into school. 

A positive shift was seen in the budget of 2014-2015 wherein all provinces doubled the amount of funds given to their respective education departments; focusing more on infrastructural development, enrollment and retention of students. Yet more needs to be done, particularly concerning the implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution. 

The year 2015 presents education activists with a crucial opportunity to demand the realization of the right to education for all, and to set the direction of education for another generation. This year, the world will agree new frameworks for education and for sustainable development more broadly that will help set the tone and the focus for government policy and action from now until 2030. 

As governments prepare to make this new set of promises, it is critical that civil society has a say in what is being promised, ensuring that these commitments respond to the rights, the needs and the priorities of citizens. For these reasons, the GCE members and allies will be campaigning throughout 2015 during Global Action Week (GAW).