Right to Education (RTE) law toothless for student of Hassanabdal 

School head denied admission to student in his school

While all the four provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) have introduced laws vis-à-vis free and compulsory education for children in Pakistan, a school head in Hassanabdal in denial of law to student seeking admission in grade 9, as there is no secondary classes facility in his school.

Slogans like ‘parha likha Punjab’, ‘education for all’ and ‘education sector’s reforms program’, 100 percent enrollment campaign “Chalo School”, Jahalat Say Azadi drive, education of the poor  by the poor and `Parho Punjab, Barho Punjab’,  no matter how sweet they may sound to the ears but that only in statements of the politicians but the ground reality is quite different for a student in Hassanabdal. Mujhaid Riasat – a student of Government middle school Baburki while talking to newsmen here on Tuesday has said that he passed middle standard examination after appearing in Punjab examination board. He applied for admission in Government higher secondary school Hassanabdal as his village school offer education only at 8 th grade. But from last two months despite frequent visits, the school head has denied him admission what he attributes to his poor academic abilities.

His father Mr Riasat claimed that even to get enrolled his son, he met with member Punjab assembly  from Hassanabdal Shahwaiz Khan and said member parliament has telephoned to school headmaster to get enroll the student but he even refused to obey his orders.

Pakistan had been graded among countries having highest number of the Out-of-School Children (OOSC) as according to a survey up to 24 million children and students, up to the intermediate level, were to be enrolled as such denial would discourage admissions to government schools where as Chief Minister Punjab claimed to bring each child of Punjab to school before the 2018 election as he recently announced that up to 12 million children have been enrolled in the Punjab, and the target is 100 per cent by 2018 under the `Parho Punjab, Barho Punjab’ programme.

Commenting on the issue, Asim Meer- head of local NGO, working in social and education sector has claimed that according to Article 25-A of the amendment, “the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children aged five to 16 years, in such a manner as may be determined by the law”.  He added that similarly, Article 38(d) delineates the obligation of the state to “provide basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief…” Following the 18th Amendment, education has become the responsibility of the provinces. He said that school head has denied the student, his fundamental and constitutional right.

When contacted, Mr Asad, headmaster government higher secondary school Hassanabdal has claimed that the lad is poor enough in studies even though he could not write an English essay. When asked that if he is so poor that how can he passed the 8 th grade board examination, from Punjab examination commission, he replied that the school staff just to show their results succeed to pass their student through cheating. When asked that “right of education” is basic constitutional right of a child and Punjab has launched enrollment drive to enrolled out of school children, he said that he has own  departmental powers  and rights of admission to induct a child in his school.