Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori has promulgated an ordinance which prohibits child actors from working during school timings, it emerged on Sunday.

The ordinance, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, has been titled Sindh Children Drama Industry Ordinance 2023. The ordinance stated that it was aimed at safeguarding the educational rights and well-being of children by prohibiting their involvement in dramatic performances during school timings.

“This ordinance recognises the importance of a child’s education and aims to ensure that their academic pursuits are not compromised for other activities,” it said.

The ordinance noted that the Sindh Assembly was not in session and the “governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action”.

Therefore, Tessori promulgated the ordinance in exercise of powers conferred under Clause (1) of Article 128 of the Constitution. The ordinance said that it would extend to the whole province and would come into force at once.

It has defined a child as any individual under 18 years of age, while dramatic performances have been defined as plays, theatrical productions, television shows, films and “any other activities involving acting or performance”.

“No child shall be permitted to participate in any dramatic performance during school timings,” the ordinance said.

“Educational institutions are prohibited from to grant permission to any student or endorsing any dramatic performance involving students during regular school hours,” it added.

However, exceptions may be granted in cases where the child’s participation was directly related to the school curriculum and had received prior approval from the school administration. Further, exceptions may also be granted for events such as schools plays or cultural performances scheduled outside of regular school hours.

The ordinance stated that any violations may result in penalties for both individuals and institutions involved. “Penalties may include fines, suspension of permits, or other measures deemed appropriate by the relevant authorities,” it said.

Educational authorities, local law enforcement agencies, and child protection agencies have been made responsible for enforcing the ordinance, which added that educational institutions should establish and communicate guidelines to ensure compliance.

The ordinance said that the Directorate General of Culture would be responsible for disseminating information about the ordinance to cultural organisations, production companies, and other relevant stakeholders.

“The directorate shall conduct regular reviews of school curricula to identify and address any potential conflicts with the prohibition outlined in this ordinance,” it said.

It said that the directorate should also undertake efforts to raise awareness among parents, guardians, educators, and the general public about the importance of prioritising a child’s education over non-academic activities during school hours

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