Thursday May 23, 2024

‘Make govt officials enrol their children in public schools’

By Shahid Husain
December 17, 2015


To maintain the merit and quality for education, it should be made mandatory upon government officials to send their children to public schools, asserted speakers participating in a consultation on education on Wednesday.

They said government officials enrolled their children in private schools, as the conditions of public schools grew worse by the day. They said unless pressure from government officials was exerted performance of the public education sector will not get better.

These views were expressed at a consultation meeting titled “International Commitments and State Obligations on Citizen's Rights” held by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).

The experts on the occasion also pointed out that political parties had neglected women while fielding candidates in the local government elections in Sindh. They said this reflected in the results of the polls where hardly any women could be seen on municipal posts.

The event aimed to obtain input from members of the civil society for pursuading the government to design and implement policies for the benefit of rural workforce in the context of the economic, social and cultural rights, as per the guidelines of International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) rectified the government of Pakistan in 2008.

The speakers said after the 18th amendment, all provinces were bound to devise policies in the light of the treatises and conventions ratified by the federation of Pakistan. Sindh too had to convert federal policies into provincial ones and translate their effects to the people.

The SPO representative in Hyderabad, Mustafa Baloch, shared the findings of a recent survey stating that despite the tall claims of the government, poverty was increasing in rural areas which was made worse by the increasing disparity in the education system.

He said he had seen instances where local parliamentarians had kept the poor and deserving students from receiving foreign scholarships and instead award them to rich brats.

Talking about the increasing extremism in Sindh, Baloch said it was an organised effort to promote hatred gave examples about how certain names had replaced those of philanthropists from historic buildings, hospitals, schools and roads.

Dr Sono Khangharani said the class and caste system was a reality to be considered by the civil society while attempting to change the societal norms. He said the government should be pressurised to separate religion from the state and advocated the for giving political rights to all segments of the society, including women and minority communities, as guaranteed by the constitution.

Ayoub Shan while representing the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) talked about the plight of coastal communities who contribute significantly to the national exchequer but were not recognised as workers.

He said in case a fishing boat capsized in the sea, there were no provisions for compensating the families.

Raheema Panhwar of SPO Karachi introduced recommendations for protecting the economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR) of the people and pertained to minimum wages, gender gap in employment and exploitation of women agricultural workforce.

She quoted the 18th Amendment and its subsequent devolution, saying the provinces should complete the relevant legislation to recognise the rights of workers in their respective jurisdictions.

Another SPO member, Ellahi Bakhsh, said the civil society should give suggestions to design a set of recommendations on protecting economic, social and cultural rights without any discrimination. He said housing, employment, provision of food and other rights were the responsibility of the government.