Do parliamentarians care about the education emergency?

Published: March 10, 2011

Parliamentarians' kids should go to with public schools. PHOTO: FAYYAZ AHMED/EDUCATIONEMERGENCY.COM.PK

The education task force set up by the prime minister has recently termed the situation in Pakistan an “education emergency”.

When media walas, policy makers, development sector workers and political activists are invited to sit together, they do not seem to think this “emergency” needs to be addressed urgently.

The panel from the educational task force concluded that the main hurdle in educating the nation is the lack of political will. It is ironic that this statement comes directly from co-chair of Pakistan Education Task force Shahnaz Wazir Ali who is a member of parliament and the ruling party.

If not her, who has the power, you ask?

Accordingly to Ms Wazir Ali, it is us the people who have the power.

I don’t understand why she is sitting in the parliament if she cannot handle the responsibilities that come with the position she was elected for. Perhaps she should think twice before running for office in the next elections.

To develop political will, the few good people in power (who I hope do exist) have to make sure that our political leadership has a bigger stake in our educational system.

They have to take drastic steps.

Send their kids to public schools

Politicians in power must make it mandatory for the children and grandchildren of the parliamentarians to study in public sector schools, colleges and universities – at least for the whole period of their elected term.

When their own brood’s five years are at stake, they will have to make an improvement.

Make them answer questions

Leaders must be accountable for their constituencies, especially at the district and union council level. If they do not succeed in improving the access to and quality of education, they should be removed.

Mandatory course

The Higher Education Commission and higher education boards should make education of a deprived child a mandatory credit course. If a university student’s result depends on teaching a child how to read, there is no reason for them not to get involved in this process.

Sign the petition

To make a change, we all need to get involved. A small step you can take is to sign this petition to help the Pakistan education task force put pressure on politicians.

But when you do sign this, remember that your signature shows your commitment to a cause, a commitment that should not be limited to simply logging in and putting your digital stamp.


Sadaf Khan

A broadcast journalist based in Islamabad who was formerly associated with Geo News and Dunya News. She blogs at

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

  • Abdul Ahad Khan

    I had the good fortune of visiting a public school in the suburbs of Karachi as part of a Community field visit assessing health needs. The school was quite posh compared to other government schools. However, what was interesting was the light I saw in the eyes of those kids as they saw us prospective doctors visiting them. Every kid I met said he wanted to become a doctor too one day and help his OWN!

    This country could’ve changed its fortunes had our rulers decided to build the education system instead of a motorway!Recommend

  • Tilsim

    No comments…. perhaps not a significant issue for the public. It’s clearly not a significant issue for the Army who take a massive portion of the budget and do not address it either and the public by and large accept. The politicians know this so there is no political will. Should not be a surprise really.

    The public have to make it their issue first.Recommend

  • parvez

    One of the foundation blocks of a nation is a sound educational system. This should have been laid 60 years ago, like India did.
    Today we have a shaky house and we are trying to prop it up with ad-hock measures being taken by people with zero credibility. How can this work ?
    Your first suggestion of sending their kids to public school was made years ago by Anita Goolamali only to remain a phrase to be oft repeated but is still the best solution.Recommend

  • Mariam

    Education, if not reachable by poors in the country, will be in a state of emergency. Urban Pakistan is doing good in education but the urban part is what matters more, with a large number of population residing there.Recommend

  • Haris Lodhi

    Literacy rate is low since the freedom . In my view this emergency is not new and need to much hard work to increase the literacy rate . Recommend

  • mariam k.

    very very good suggestions~!!

    only problem i clicked on the link and its not active.Recommend

  • Hina

    best suggested thing that it should be mendatory for parliamentarians to send their children to public sector schools..secondly i wish universities consider this suggestion asap..these steps ll create difference for sure..Recommend

  • Mujahid

    It is unbelievable when I heard that amount allocated to PIA & PEPCO as subsidy is more than allocated budgeted amount to Education Sector. We can judge the level of seriousness of our Goverment in this context as Gillani has declared “Education Emergency” Recommend

  • Akhtar hussain

    Declare education emergency, its really a time to re visit our education system,All our miseries lay their, our education produce citizens who believe how much on our basics,that is culture and even much we are loyal to state, these are real Questions that we ignore. if a chines have a slogan china is the best, Japanies claim this soil is mine, Why not their in Pakistan?so

    education is technical matter?

    centralize curriculum is our main
    where our kids go to read
    but read they same those who interest
    in foreign curricula, should free to
    go abroad.
    text books needs work and
    re set objectives that we want to
    but who will do it?