Let me quote the words of Nelson Mandela that “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” Totally agree with the statement but what if that weapon is too expensive to achieve.
I am from Pakistan, where the Constitution under article 25-A promises that: “It is states responsibility and right of every child to attain free and compulsory education.” And same promise is reiterated by ratifying United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Children – UNCRC. But these promises never translated into practical actions. Today there are 24 million children in the country which are denied from their basic and Constitutional right of access to quality education.
A recent report published by Alif Ailaan (a local advocacy alliance for education reforms) says that: “There are currently 24.02 million boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 16 are not in school. The report further reveals that by the higher-secondary level almost 85% are not in school,”
Here is the province/region wise details of “Out of School Children – OOSC”:
We are living in the Global World, let me say the world of inequity, where one segment of society can easily access the countless opportunities across the world and other segment, which is significantly bigger, mostly children and youth remained benighted and illiterate. Certainly in addition to external affairs and involvement, weak governance plays big role in it.
Abraham Lincoln defines the democracy that, it is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”, but unfortunately in less developed countries it’s like upward down: “Democratic government is of the lords/tycoons, by the lords/tycoons, and for the lords/tycoons.” In country like Pakistan democracy has been overshadowed by religious extremists, military rule and ill governed corrupt politicians. This is what you can expect when you leave half of your population illiterate, uneducated and disconnected from developments of the world.
Whenever a so-called democratic government emerges it became easy for them to harness the public towards the quagmire of ignorance. Political fiber of the country is certainly mindful that Pakistan won’t be able to face complex challenges until we invest in the education but they feel threaten that there powers / control might not be accepted by enlighted generation.
According to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Goal # 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education and now under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal # 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This is the vivid reality that only the state is primarily responsible for the basic rights of each and every citizen. The Government is also accountable for frequent follow-up and review, at the national, regional and global levels, in relation to the progress made in implementing the Goals and targets over the coming fifteen years. In this context, the State should provide the facilities of quality education to every child and also monitor the progress timely. The less developed countries must understand, focus and implement on the following five point agenda:
- Education is not a privilege, but it’s a basic right of every child. The State should put its best efforts to strengthen public sector so No Child Left Behind from attaining their basic right of free, compulsory and quality education at his/her doorstep.
- Root out the double standards of education from the country and eliminate the concept of private education sector which brought the so-called competition in the society and by this the viruses of injustice and corruptions are injected in the blood of generations.
- State like Pakistan where illiteracy ratio is more than 50% have to understand that if they want to develop and prosper their country then they have to invest more resources (5% of GDP) on education for at least two to three decades and bring the revolution in education system of their country and must provide a mechanism that ensure the access of quality education in every nook and corner of the country
- State should take some special measures to bring every out of school children in school and transform the conventional teacher centered education to child centered child friendly education.
- State should introduce the child friendly school system including the facility of sports, health, science, technology and at least one time hygienic and full protein meal to every child.
It’s the time to cope-up not only with the illiteracy but to reject the ignorant attitudes and behaviors towards the promotion of quality education from the world.