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PESHAWAR: Participants at the launching ceremony of a campaign regarding informal education have urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to fulfil its constitutional obligations regarding access to free and compulsory education for all, under Article 25-A in the province. They said that education played a vital role in restoration of peace and development of the country.

The campaign “each one should teach us” was launched by Poha Foundation, a civil society organisation, at a function held at Peshawar Press Club on Thursday. Representatives of civil society and government departments attended the event.

Speaking as chief guest Riaz Mandokhel said that access to education was the right of every child. He said that the promotion of education was prerequisite for establishment of peace and development. “No sufficient efforts have been made to provide education facility to all children in the province,” he said.

He said that Article 25-A of the Constitution was inserted via 18th constitutional amendments, and it declared “free and compulsory education” a fundamental right of all children aged 5 to 16. He lamented that KP was lagging behind in its implementation. He said that public support was essential to promote education and improve literacy ratio. He suggested that 2015 should be declared as education year.

Shafiq Gigyani said that the region was neglected in education sector, while educational institutions, especially girl schools, were razed in the restive areas of KP and Fata. “Pakhtuns have been faced with numerous difficulties due to low literacy rate and lack of awareness, whereas schools were destroyed in the wake of the ongoing militancy in this region,” he observed.

Qamar Naseem said that steps should be taken to meet the international commitments and goals in education sector by end of 2015. He said that the government should focus on out-of-school children and address the issue of dropouts. He also called for rebuilding the militancy-hit schools in the province.

Ikramullah said that access to free and quality education was still a dream in the province. He said that though the provincial government was taking steps for promotion of quality education, standard of education in public sector schools was deteriorating with the passage of time.

Other speakers, including Taimoor Kamal, Ibrahim Khan and Hassan, stressed the need for promotion of informal education. They urged the government to take measures for promotion of quality education and bringing improvement in the existing education ratio. The members of civil society also held a walk for promotion of education and demanded of the government to ensure implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2015