Education laws

1 min read

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has recently ruled that the Punjab government must establish rules under the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2014, to ensure the compliance with this law at private schools. The ruling comes after a private school filed a petition against the denial of a registration certificate by the District Registration Authority in Sahiwal. It also sheds light on the persistent challenges facing the education sector in Pakistan, including issues of access, equity and institutional capacity.

Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, with over 20 million children out of school, and the country faces significant challenges in providing equitable and quality education to all its citizens. These challenges include insufficient infrastructure, lack of trained teachers, low enrolment rates and inadequate budgetary allocations for education. Furthermore, the lack of regulation and oversight in the education sector has allowed private schools to operate without adherence to basic standards of quality and inclusivity. The absence of rules to enforce the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act has perpetuated inequalities, particularly for marginalised communities and disadvantaged children. The situation is further compounded by systemic issues, such as corruption, political interference and a lack of political will to prioritise education. These factors have contributed to the erosion of trust in educational institutions and have hindered progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Moving forward, it is crucial for Pakistan to address these challenges and commit to improving access to quality education for all its citizens. The LHC order to frame rules under the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to address the systemic issues that hinder progress in the education sector.

Editorial published in Express Tribune on 17-02-2024

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