Idara E Taleem o Aagahi
Call to introduce education reforms

Call to introduce education reforms  


Speakers at a conference on Wednesday urged all the stakeholders to adopt necessary measures for the much-needed educational reforms in the country for more inclusive and equitable quality education.

The conference titled ‘Mapping the Educational Reforms in View of the Next Democratic Tenure’ was organised by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in collaboration with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in the federal capital.

The independent education policy experts, government stakeholders, and political parties agreed on introducing reforms in the education sector.

Dr Baela Raza Jamil, Dr AH Nayyar, Peter Jacob, Wajahat Masood, Professor Yaqoob Khan Bangash, Saima Anwer, Waseem Ajmal, and Dr Shoaib Suddle were among the panellists.

Politicians including Farhatullah Babar (PPP), MNA Mehnaz Akber Aziz (PML-N), MNA Zobaida Jalal (MNA), Senator Sana Jamali, and Ammar Ali Jan (HKP) presented their parties’ perspectives on the educational reforms.

Faaria Khan hosted the conference, while Harris Khalique and Munizae Jahangir moderated the panel discussions on different topics focused on inclusive and equitable quality education and political parties’ commitment and actions for educational reforms.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Baela Raza Jamil, CEO Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi said that education with learning is a lifeline for all citizens without discrimination.

“Pakistan remains lowest on key indicators of SDG-4 in South Asia failing to live up to Article 25-A, a fundamental constitutional right to education,” she said and added that despite progressive manifestos, political parties repeatedly fall short of delivering what they promised, compromising, excluding, and crippling the lives of millions of children, especially girls and marginalised groups.

Dr AH Nayyar said that the state failed to implement the Article 25-A and provide free and compulsory education to all children under 16 years as nearly half the children are deprived of schooling on account of the failure of the state to provide the resources needed for the task.

Earlier, Dr Shoaib Suddle said the government has been violating order no. 2 of the Jillani judgment (SMC 1 of 2014, etc.) and Article 22(1) of the constitution because school curriculum and textbooks of compulsory subjects like Urdu, English and Social Studies carry substantial content relating to the religious instruction of majority religion, compelling non-Muslim students to learn Islamiat [Islamic studies] in all courses.

Peter Jacob, Executive Director, Centre for Social Justice said fulfilling and implementing Articles 22 (1) and 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan on the right to education without discrimination, is a fundamental constitutional obligation and a pressing need for improving foundational literacy, and the quality of education.

Political analyst Wajahat Masood appreciated the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued on 19 June 2014. “It is not possible to implement articles 20, 22 (1), and 25-A of the constitution in letter and spirit unless related laws and policies are made likewise, as they are sectarian, religion-based, and discriminatory,” he said.

Farhatullah Babar, former Senator from PPP said that quality education should be a priority of the political parties to inculcate pluralistic values in children, and measures to transform schools into religious seminaries with a single national curriculum and induction of madrassa graduates as teachers must be revisited.

Dr. Ammar Ali Jan, President of the Haqooq-e-Khalq Party said that there is a need to allow critical thinking on campuses. It will only be possible if we stop viewing education from a security lens and start treating universities as sites for dialogue and debate.