Lahore, December 02 - A significant conference titled "Implementing the constitutional promise of the right to education for all (Article 25-A)" was held by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Peoples Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR). The event saw a convergence of independent education policy experts and representatives from various political parties, all united in their call for reforms to ensure more inclusive and equitable education.
Peter Jacob from CSJ and PCMR emphasized the ongoing role of civil society organizations in holding governments and decision-makers accountable for providing free and compulsory education to all children, without any discrimination. Dr. A. H. Nayyar criticized national education policies as mere wish lists lacking financial backing, leading to a decline in the quality of public education.
Barrister Aamir Hassan of PPP highlighted the education system's contribution to class disparities in Pakistan, stressing the need for an inclusive system promoting diversity and tolerance. Bushra Anjum Butt from PML-N pointed out the impracticality of a single national curriculum due to disparities in resources and facilities among schools, alongside issues like teacher training and student dropouts. Sultan Ali Ranjha of PML-N pledged realistic promises in their party's election manifesto to improve education.
Advocate Saqib Jillani brought attention to the government's violation of constitutional provisions and court orders in school curriculums, forcing non-Muslim students to learn content primarily related to Islam. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Shaikh criticized the higher education sector for failing in knowledge creation and fostering critical thinking. He called for a comprehensive overhaul of the system.
Taimur Bandey advocated for the involvement of educationists in planning and reform processes, emphasizing the need to revamp the outdated educational system. Dr. Sara Rizvi Jafree discussed the multiple barriers girls face in accessing education, including cultural obstacles that hinder their enrollment and retention in schools. She called for effective measures to address these challenges.
Saima Anwer and Faaria Khan discussed the importance of public-private partnerships, alternative schooling methods, and curriculum reforms to make education more inclusive and to protect religious freedom rights.
The conference, moderated by Lubna Jerar and Shakeel Ahmad, served as a platform for experts and politicians, including Barrister Aamir Hassan (PPP), Bushra Anjum Butt (PML-N), and Sultan Ali Ranjha (PML-N), to present their views on necessary educational reforms in Pakistan. The event underscored the collective need for urgent action to revamp the education system, making it more inclusive and reflective of societal needs.