By Havi Zayed

Education is the universal right of each and every individual. However continuously due to the utter corruption and failure of successive governments this field has been pathetically neglected in Pakistan. Even today the expenditure on education in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the world and usually sits at 2% of the GDP most of the time. The maximum it has ever reached is 2.80%.

Currently Pakistan has a literacy rate of approximately 57% which is one of the lowest in the World, though independent observers agree that literacy has increased in the past years. However the number can be expected to be lower than the 57% estimate considering the fact that an apathetic government has had a role in accumulating these figures.

Our description of how we find the literacy rate is defined as “aged 10 and over can read and write.” If a child who is ten years of age can somehow sign his name on a piece of paper he is literate according to the government. This apathy and ignorance towards education has led to a major problem in Pakistan and is not only prevalent in the government but also in many circles of the poverty stricken masses.

Why Primary Education, why not a complete Universal Education System?

In any country, especially one that has a high illiteracy rate like Pakistan all education must be a must and enrolment in primary institutions ensured. However we are talking about making only primary education must by law because it is an achievable target which can be accomplished provided the law is implemented and children in those age groups found roaming the streets on week days are picked up and sent right to school as they deserve to be.

Every great intention starts with a single step in the right direction, therefore it is a sensible for a start rather than impose a law the country simply does not have the means to administer.

By estimate we have 156,653 Primary institutions in the country which should be enough to accommodate Pakistan’s population of children of about 4-10 years. This estimate is gained by multiplying 156,653 primary institutions into an average number of students they can accommodate (Approximately 100). This gives the figure 15,665,300 which is the number of students these institutions can accommodate. This is approximately the total population of children between those age’s in the country.

Therefore according to these numbers Pakistan does have enough primary institutions in the country to though it is clear that many being concentrated in the cities and urban areas, there will be children in the rural areas who do not have a primary school in their area to go to at all. In these areas work needs to be started immediately on a school for the children to go to.

Problems involved: Corruption & Non Implementation of Laws

Pakistan is fully capable of enforcing such a rule as there are enough Primary schools in Pakistan to accommodate these children.

The most important factor in the implementation of this ideal is indeed the old issue in Pakistan of what role the police and the other upholders of the law will play. In Pakistan the problem is often that there are laws but those same laws are ignored and not properly implemented. A fine of 500 Rupee’s will have to be imposed on anyone who refuses to send their children to school while the police will have to enforce the rule rather than ignoring someone who disregards it.

Another problem is rampant corruption, especially when it is the rich or middle class involved the exchange of bribes becomes common. Therefore a great deal lies on whether the primary schools run by the government do not have all their funding being eaten by corrupt officials. Indeed many rural schools in Pakistan lack teachers who stop teaching because they aren’t being paid by the government. Many schools listed are even bogus with the local official in charge claiming their presence simply to take the funds for himself. Though this is a separate topic the government will have to bring transparency here and ensure that the funds are properly being utilized. Proper audits and checks must be maintained.

How to go about implementing it?

Enforcement would no doubt start from the urban centers and would most affect the young street urchins we see on the streets of our famous cities begging as a means to sustain themselves. The rural towns and villages close to these urban centers would be the next where the effects of this law are implemented and felt.

The task will begin to get more difficult as the program moves further into the rural areas that are more further from these urban population centers. Here the problem of people unwilling to send female children to school will become all the more apparent, though the problem would be existent in other areas including the Urban ones as well people. They must be convinced by separate classes or if possible separate school buildings for the students of different sexes.

In the far flung and remoter rural areas that are cut off from other parts of the country implementing this will be a very difficult task. In these areas the difficulty to enforce such a law will be magnified by the fact that there are no real police stations for miles and no real administrative authorities to enforce it. This also further increases the chances of corruption taking place. There is no doubt that it can be accomplished but it will require resolve.

In reality everything lies with the will of the Pakistani people to change their own standard of living. If they use this and every such opportunity to develop their country to steal from it or ignore their duties the result of any scheme or plan will be a failure. Education is the right of every Pakistani. It is time to take a small but necessary step in this direction.

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