Know your rights: Ilmpossible

Published: January 22, 2012

Distracted by the political instability of the country, Pakistanis have failed to draw their attention to the termites that have been incessantly devouring the well being of the country. The crippled education system of Pakistan has proved to be one of these destructive creatures. Nevertheless, the presidential assent given to the Constitution (18th Amendment) Bill in April 2010 was an occurrence of great magnitude in this matter. 

What were the outcomes of the 18th Amendment?

It turned Pakistan into a parliamentary republic; it removed the powers of the president to dissolve Parliament unilaterally. What else did it do to the constitution? It gave a right that was unprecedented.

Article 25a inserted in the Constitution of Pakistan says:

‘The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law.’

It seemed to be the beginning of a revolution in the education system of Pakistan. But issues of low enrolment rates, ghost schools, lack of trained teachers and proper physical infrastructure exist till day and underline the poor performance of this sector. Having said that, one should ponder on the question that if such is the state of implementation of laws, is this the way that Pakistan is going to meet its Millennium Development Goal?

In 2000, Pakistan pledged to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal for education along with other countries, promising that, by 2015 ‘children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and that girls and boys will have equal access to all levels of education’.

Thus, it sounded convincing when the Pakistan Task Force in 2011 declared an education emergency in the country. It is inevitable that it is too short a time to achieve such a big target. It is high time to pay heed to this issue.

Article 25a is certainly a ray of hope for the millions, a positive step towards meeting the target and building a prosperous Pakistan. What is required for the operation of this provision in the constitution is just passing of the laws on the part of the provincial assemblies.

But are people aware of this article in the constitution in the first place?

Ilmpossible, a campaign launched in November 2011 aims to spread awareness to the citizens of Pakistan about article 25a, encouraging them to attend school without being subjected to any impediments. Thus, working with the objective to improve literacy levels in the country in the long run. The supporters of this campaign, ‘Ilmbassadors’, take oath to further spread awareness about this right in their communities. They carry out this work through social and mainstream media or by interacting one-on-one with the citizens residing both in the urban or rural areas nationally.

The idea should primarily be to value each drop that makes the ocean, whether it is the first or last one. Joining platforms like these can be one way by which appreciation should be shown to the Parliamentarians for taking an initiative to make education a fundamental right, and no more a privilege.

To learn more about Ilmpossible, please visit their Facebook page.

Mehak Ameer

Mehak Ameer

A law student of the University of London International Programmes who is also a member of Ilmpossible. She tweets @mehakameer

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mehran

    Very well written. You have touched very important issue. The biggest revolution is needed in education sector. Literacy rate is far too low in Pakistan and moreover the performance of Govt schools is also very poor. Without education, our society cant make leap change and in this era of competition, the greatest resource are educated people.Recommend

  • http://isharearena.com M.Aswad Mehatb

    “Know your rights: ILmpossible ” This Post Had me As soon as i red the Heading !! Awsom Work !! Recommend

  • http://www.tahirian.blogfa.com Manoochehr Tahirian

    This is first time, visiting the Tribune Pakistan. and i am glade being here. ILMPossible did a great job. loved the Illustration and well written.

    We need a revolution in Education system, we have to do it. Let’s do it. Recommend

  • Noor

    I blame the media responsibility for creating hypes about non-issues & ignoring the core issues.

    If media gets together & stops hyping about stupid issues, things can be improved.

    Another important dimension is the proper & uniformed education curriculum throughout the country, which must include Quranic teachings, so as to have a complete scanning of the entire script by Matric or ‘O’ levels.

    I strongly recommend even reduction in quantity of formal education stuff, so that the kids may be able to groom in the direction of their natural aptitude, without Ratta system.Recommend

  • http://www.cf.ac.uk/for/prospective/inter/countryspecific/asia/pakistan/index.html Sardar Ahmed Gaziani

    Good Job, Keep up the good work. I will like to become a part of ILPossible, do let me know how can i help.

    Sardar Ahmed Gaziani
    Country Laision Officer
    Cardiff University
    http://www.cf.ac.uk/for/prospective/inter/countryspecific/asia/pakistan/index.htmlRecommend

  • sherry

    very very well written and i must say its a commendable effort.Recommend

  • Salman Shaikh

    A very inspiring and well written polemic against a backdrop of Pakistan’s sorry state of educational affairs. The writer has rightly identified the nub of our country’s problem i.e. the lack of education. I have always advocated for improvement of our education system before focusing on other menaces that our country is plagued with; because only educated Pakistan can result in alleviation of poverty, unemployment and terrorism. So, all of us should get together and bring about a change based on the notion of “EDUCATION FOR ALL”.

    A GREAT initiative taken by the writer though!!

    Salman Shaikh,

    Barrister-at-lawRecommend

  • Salman Shaikh

    A very inspiring and well written polemic against a backdrop of Pakistan’s sorry state of educational affairs. The writer has rightly identified the nub of our country’s problems i.e. the lack of education. I have always advocated for improvement of our education system before focusing on other menaces that our country is plagued with; because only educated Pakistan can result in alleviation of poverty, unemployment and terrorism. So, all of us should get together and bring about a change based on the notion of “EDUCATION FOR ALL”.

    A GREAT initiative taken by the writer though!!

    Salman Shaikh,

    Barrister-at-lawRecommend

  • Madiha Shaukat

    This article will indeed act as a motivating factor in making people aware of the sorry state of our educational system.It’s significance lies in the fact that though the upper classes can benefit from educational opportunities but the poor are unable to avail such a basic right .Thus we should endeavour to be a part of such an influential campaign and bring a huge change in our country’s educational system. A very precise and to the point article though covering all the important elements of our educational inadequacies.I would love to join Ilmpossible!Recommend

  • http://www.scribd.com/asifameer Asif

    A right to free education. hmm. Well its good but thats not the best START. Heres what should be made right 1st.

    Right to be free by birth (banning of slavery)
    Right to (or not to) practice a religion (If I am Shia, I dont want the govt to force my child to study Sunnism. Same goes for any other religion. Govt has no right over my child)
    Right to their fruits of labor (If I work and earn a wage, it is solely mine. No one else can claim right to that wage) This establishes the concept of private property and bans INFLATION.

    That is it. Nothing more. I need nothing more. Leave me and my matter to myself. I have God and myself to take care of myself and my family.Recommend

  • Mahum

    I appreciate your dedicated commitment.
    Don’t ever give up. Continue with the path you have chosen.
    Great job! Keep it up.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/AndrewJStovell Andy

    A well balanced and yet challenging article Ms Ameer. Thank you. It is optimistic and yet spurs us on to action not complacency. Respectful of the decision makers who have passed a great law whilst encouraging more than mere words.

    Praying that change will occur in the coming years!Recommend

  • Abdul moiz

    good article. i like the way the writer has presented the ideas and i completely agree with the witer’s point of view.Recommend

  • Fahad

    Interesting view on the article 25a, never knew this clause existed ! But articles like these would create awareness ! Keep up the good work, would like to be a part of ILMPOSSIBLE.Recommend