Aug 09, 2017

The article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan obligates the state to provide free and compulsory education. It says. “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as may be determined by law”.

While it is true that there is growing general awareness in our country of the importance of education to our society, it is also sadly true that our achievements in concrete terms invariably fall short of what we desire. And because of low level of public investment in the education sector, education the poor receive fall very well below the education received by the rich.

It’s a well-established fact that the rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer, and there are fewer and fewer people in between. What’s not so well known is how that income gap may be translating into disparities in educational success, and what that might mean for the long-term future of individuals, economically challenged groups, and our entire nation. Children whose parents are poor now may face a tougher time throught their lives in getting out of their current socioeconomic situation. It is a universal truth that the real talent lies in the middle-class. But unfortunately the existing education system is widening the gap between the rich and the middle class, while no education is available for the poor.

The solutions, then, are economic and social. The best way to reduce inequality and educational outcomes is to ensure that all students start on a more even footing. This would take a number of levers. We need to make sure people have access to stable jobs that pay a living wage. We need affordable health care, and we need a social safety net to support families through the hard times between jobs. We also need high-quality child-care and preschool programs for low and middle-class income group. This would relieve their stress and allow them to help develop their children’s potential. 

As the children of the rich study in better school, and do better in school, and those who do better in school are more likely to become rich, we risk producing an even more unequal and economically polarized society. So, we must do more to improve our schools, of course, particularly those schools that enroll low-income students. After all the future of our nation depends on education, as the Quaid said, “There is no doubt that the future of our state will and must greatly depend on the type of education we give to our children, and the way in which we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan . We should not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction”.

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