Who will operationalize Article 25-A of Constitution – free and compulsory education Pakistan

[Dateline 2013]
Section 25-A was inserted in Chapter 1 on Fundamental Rights in the Constitution through 18th amendment and states that “The State shall provide free and compulsory education all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law[1]”. Previously state did provide education to the poor and marginalized but now it is an enforceable right. While this paper concentrates only on Article 25-A, on abolishment of concurrent list not only the subject of ‘education; but also of ‘curriculum, syllabus’, ‘planning’, ‘policy’, ‘centres of excellence’, ‘standards of education’ and ‘Islamic education’ have also been devolved to the Provinces:


Status of Education Policy, Planning and Curriculum Pre & Post 18th amendment
Before amendment
After 18th amendment
Right to Education
Recognized but not justiciable
Justiciable right
Education policy and planning
Concurrent Legislative List
Provincial subject
Concurrent Legislative List
Provincial subject
Standard of higher education
Concurrent Legislative List
Federal List Part II

Implementation of Article 25-A, post 18th Amendment, requires the following from the Provincial Governments, who were in any case responsible for elementary education previously too:
(i)              Legislation on Compulsory Education for ages 5-16 years through the Provincial Assembly;
(ii)            Formulation of customized Provincial Education Policy in continuation of the National Education Policy 2009;
(iii)          Strengthening of EMIS:The Education Management Information System provides computerized data on existing schools, their catchment area, physical infrastructure, enrollment in that school, the HR etc but more importantly the population demography leading to calculation of requirement of new schools;
(iv)          Census of children 0-16 years to find out Gross Enrollment Ratio for next 5 year plan. This has to include detailed door-to-door household survey and indicators should include access, enrolment, out of school children, gender disparity etc;
(v)            Determinants of abnormally high drop out ratio: This should include, based on above census too, specific reasons of drop-out such as access, missing facilities, financial position, absence of teachers, lack of quality in teaching or some other reason;
(vi)          Rectification of under and over-utilization of existing schools: Measures are required to strengthen over-utilized schools by providing additional class rooms or additional schools, ensuring vertical construction for future schools and, on the other hand, while re-deploying teachers from under-utilized schools put the building and land to some other government use;
(vii)         Establishment of new schools for present and progressively yearly requirement: This will include increase in HR;
(viii)       Removal of deficiencies from existing schools including boundary wall, bathrooms, clean drinking water and power as these are known reasons of abnormally high drop-out;
(ix)          Endowment fund for poor students: 30 % people in Pakistan live below poverty line[3] and children of school going age are employed in income generation activities. Fund should include provision of free textbooks, uniform and pocket money, and in very deserving cases monetary help to parents from Zakat;
(x)            Special packagefor female students and teachers: Female students, in addition to free text books, uniform and pocket money should also be given diet supplements as their diet in their houses otherwise remains underprivileged. Female teachers should be provided transport from hostels to places of duty;
(xi)          Model Madarras: Registered intake of Madarras is around 7 to 10 % of the target age group children. As a governmental intervention Madarras agreeing to certain conditions, including science subjects and IT, may be provided grants against achievable and primary and secondary teachers too;
(xii)         Public-Private Partnership: Under utilized schools or schools where second shift can be arranged should be leased out to private sector against maintenance and payment of utility charges. Similarly government may, through its Education Foundations, financially encourage private education networks to standardize their schools and construct new ones;
(xiii)       Motivational Drive:Even after legislation and provision of incentives for education, factors like lack of awareness, conservatism, and ignorance of parents about benefits of education may still impede enrolment of all children into the school. Political and religious leaders, social workers, civil society organizations, media and all educated people should participate in the campaign for enrolment of all children into schools in their respective areas.


The most important is financial input. The below table, a generalized estimate, shows our requirement only for existing children and progressive requirement based on 2% rate of population growth for new schools. It does not include removal of deficiencies, madrassa or private sector reforms process etc. It is evident that our budget allocation is nowhere near the requirement, which is sizable, and obligatory under the constitution on the governments, to say the least:


Total Children (Age 0-15)
Out of school children (reduced to 4-15[4])
Number of Schools required @ 1000 children per school
Unit cost
Financial implications
177.10 M[5]
43.538[6] M
Rs 4.0 M[7]
Rs 174152 M
180.642 M
0.870 M
Rs 4.0 M
Rs 3480 M
184.254 M
0.870 M
Rs 4.0 M
Rs 3480 M


[1]Article 25 A of the Constitution inserted by Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2009
[2] Raza, Ahsan, Decentralization of Education under the 18thAmendment, Economic Review Monthly, 15.5.2013 http://www.economic-review.com.pk/may-2013/decentralisation-of-education-under-the-18th-amendmentaccessed on 11 Nov, 2013
[3] Right to Free and Compulsory Education in Pakistan: Enforcement of Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan – June 2011, PILDAT, http://www.pildat.org/publications/publication/EFA/RighttoFreeandCompulsoryEducationinPakistanBackgroundpaper.pdfaccessed on 11 Nov, 2013
[4] The literacy factor: 30m Pakistanis aged 4 to 16 deprived of education, http://defence.pk/threads/the-literacy-factor-30m-pakistanis-aged-4-to-16-deprived-of-education.206638/ accessed on 12 Nov, 2013
[5] Pakistan Statistical Yearbook 2011
[6] Note: As the data available was not compliant to the number of children between ages 5-16 and the figure for 0-15 came to 53.538 Million, as an estimate the figure 43.538 Million was taken as a subtraction of ages 0-4 and addition of age 16.
[7] Mr Qaiser Alam, Additional Secretary, Elementary & Secondary Education Department KP.