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.