Balochistan mulling law to declare education an 'essential service'

Updated December 10, 2018

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If approved by the cabinet, the 'Balochistan Essential Education Service Act 2018' will be presented before the provincial assembly for legislation. — AP/File photo
If approved by the cabinet, the 'Balochistan Essential Education Service Act 2018' will be presented before the provincial assembly for legislation. — AP/File photo

The Balochistan government is mulling legislation to declare education an 'essential service' with the objective of improving the state of education in the province.

The proposed legislation was presented before a Balochistan cabinet meeting presided over by Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan on Monday.

If approved by the cabinet, the "Balochistan Essential Education Service Act, 2018," will be presented before the provincial assembly for approval.

According to the document, obtained by DawnnewsTV, the proposed legislation suggests that employees of the education department should not be allowed to observe strikes, boycott classes or lockout classrooms in order to have their demands accepted.

The proposed law has also mentioned punishment for those found guilty of violating the directives.

Furthermore, under the proposed legislation, teachers in violation will be punished with a year-long conviction or fined Rs0.5 million.

The teachers community has strongly condemned the proposed legislation, terming it a violation of fundamental rights.

"We will not accept this," president of his faction of the Government Teachers Association Balochistan Mujeebullah Gharsheen told DawnNewsTV. "We will agitate against this move", he warned.

The Balochistan government has already declared education an emergency in the province and implemented Article 25A of the Constitution to make sure that out of school children attend school.

The article states: “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years in such a manner as may be determined by law.” This article was incorporated into the Constitution through its 18th amendment.

Balochistan Education Secretary Tayyab Lehri said a number of reforms were being introduced in the department to improve the education sector.

"[The] government is committed to ensure the presence of all teachers in schools," he said.