Pakistani children demand equal rights for education

08:10, June 01, 2010      

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On the eve of the International Children's Day, civil society and children in Pakistan demanded the government to take concrete steps to protect and promote children's rights and to provide them uniform education.

"Around the world, even in the most desperate situations, nations show high determination for their children, we shall also have to take bigger steps for the better educational lives of our children," said Faisal Nadeem Gorchani, a social activist in Islamabad.

The International Children's Day has been generally celebrated around the world since 1925 when the World Conference for the Well- being of Children in Geneva declared June 1 to be observed as the International Children's Day.

Angelique School, the oldest secondary level institute in the Pakistani capital, provides ideal education with quality teaching and hygienic atmosphere. Angelique is one of the few schools in the country which have air conditioning and room heating facilities according to weather.

Apart from the schools in the rural areas where students often don't have paper to write, kids from the upper average families enjoy drawings and color paintings in Angelique.

Students of the school are very happy with the facilities but they also wish these for all children.

"I have visited a government school, and there I saw strength of 40 class and there was only three fans and only one was working. So how can students get education in such environment," said Kashif Khan, a student of class 10.

The average fee slab for each student of the Angelique is from 2,500 rupees to 6,000.(1 U.S. dollar equals 84 Pakistani rupees)

Sabahat Rehman, the headmistress of the school is proud of her institute standard but she is convinced for uniform education for all children without any discrimination.

"Getting education is the right of each and every child. This is not a child fault that he has taken birth to a poor man or a below average income man. This is all destined," Rehman told Xinhua.

Pakistan, under very relaxed literacy checking formula, has literacy rate of 44 percent out of a population of 170 million.

Pakistan has 32 percent urban population and 68 percent rural with an alarmingly literacy rate of 34 percent in rural areas as compared to 63 percent in the urban areas.

Mostly people criticize the government for all the miseries being faced by the children in schools or out of schools.

War against terrorism caused more than one thousand blown up schools and uncountable internal displaced persons (IDPs) in the troubled northwest.

Thousands of children of terror ridden areas are suffering their educational sabotage as many families had to shift to the different parts of the country as IDPs.

A big slum in the suburb of Islamabad presents a complete picture of the plights of dislocated children living in crumbling tiny shelters made of mud with grass roofs.

These children, of the homeless families, have no income and no access to clean water and education of any kind. These children do not know any other way of life.

Experts warn it impossible for Pakistan, with 50 percent population living under poverty line, to provide quality education for slum children.

Government has announced free education till matriculation in state owned institutes but these are also out of their reach. It seems such no availability has averted them from the education.

"Nothing to do with school, I do my labor work. I collect some grass to feed cattle in the market," Sabeer Khan, 12, told Xinhua.

His sister cum coworker also does not have other views. "We just came back from the cattle market after feeding animals, we are happy we earn 80 rupees a day," said Kameela.

Poverty and less government attention are the two major factors which are driving children away from schools.

"My father died in drone attack and I don't go to school because we have no money," Fatima, a 9-year-old girl told Xinhua.

Thousands of children have different reasons for not going to school. But some has courage and aim to fight in spite of tight and less helping circumstances.

Haroon, 9, is working hard to carry on its education. He does his job after school. "I collect garbage and sell it for 40 rupees a day. I also go to school and we are two brothers and one sister, " said Haroon, an displaced kid from terror-ridden northern area of the country.

On the universal day, Non government organizations (NGO) in Pakistan are organizing seminars to urge the government to improve the lives of children by seeking innovative solutions for children to get education.

Source: Xinhua


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