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Islamabad

December 22, 2010
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Devolution of powers

Islamabad

December 22, 2010

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Islamabad
The devolution of powers of Education Ministry to the provinces under 18th amendment would create circumstances that have lead to ‘fall of Dhaka’ where the syllabus was not in line with the national curriculum and self-serving people used it for their vested interests.
Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali Khan expressed these thoughts in a meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Education held here on Tuesday. The minister took the strong stance against the devolution of Ministry of Education to the provinces.
He said that the Concurrent List includes the most important segments including curriculum, policy and planning whose devolution would mean the segmentation of people in the country. “Curriculum is a sensitive subject whose devolution would mean that we are giving free hand to provinces to teach the syllabus of their desire without any check of the federation,” he said.
He said that devolution should not mean the destruction. “What I am looking forward is the situation where we could produce Sindhis, Balochis, Punjabis and Pakhtuns but not Pakistanis,” he said.
The minister informed that Concurrent Legislative List removed under 18th Amendment included Entry 38 that is, curriculum, syllabus, planning, and policy, centres of excellence and standards of education. While the Entry 39 that is, Islamic education has also been removed.
He said that the Entry 38 and Entry 39 of the Concurrent Legislative List constitute only 15 per cent of the whole Constitution and it would not be fair to sacrifice the whole ministry for the sake of only 15 per cent. “According to the 18th Amendment, 85 per cent of the ministry is intact in form of Federal Legislative List Part (1) and Federal Legislative List (2),” he informed.
He said that devolution of the ministry would put the jobs of 79,000 employees at stake besides the future of 1.4 million students. “How can Capital Development Authority (CDA)

that cannot maintain and build roads would run the schools and colleges,” he added.
The minister stressed to exercise Article 267-A which gives power to remove difficulties in implementation of 18th Amendment.
While replying to the query of a member of the NA standing committee on education he said that the way 18th Amendment has been constituted could only be understood by some legal experts like S.M Zafar or Raza Rabbani while a person like me could not grasp it without the help of some legal expert. “We have never been consulted either by constitutional reforms committee or by the implementation Commission then how could we have given our input in that,” he said.
Former minister for education Zubaida Jalal on the occasion endorsed what the federal minister said regarding the ‘fall of Dhaka’ and said that the same situation could rise in Balochistan if the provinces were allowed to formulate their curriculum. “If the children in Balochistan could not hoist flags at their homes then no wonder that the curriculum formulated by the province promote the emotions that were once promoted in the Dhaka,” she added.
NA Standing Committee’s Chairman Abid Sher Ali asked the ministry to submit their recommendations to the committee within two days after which a meeting would be held with the implementation committee to express them reservations of the Federal Ministry of Education as well as the standing committee regarding the devolution of powers to the provinces. “The NA standing committee on education is fully convinced that the devolution of powers of education ministry to the provinces would create a divide while hinder the process of gaining uniformity in education system,” he said.
He said that the devolution of powers to provinces would put the national cohesion and integrity at stake.

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