Sindh’s educational landscape confronts a pressing challenge as private schools continue to flout legal obligations to enroll 10% of economically disadvantaged students without charge. The recent admission by Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah in the provincial assembly has brought this issue to the forefront, shedding light on the disconcerting reality that reflects a broader crisis within Pakistan’s education sector. The stipulation was initially instituted to cultivate social responsibility and address prevailing educational disparities.
Regrettably, the non-compliance of several private schools’ underscores a concerning lack of commitment to their role within society, consequently deepening the existing socio-economic divide. This blatant disregard not only erodes the fundamental essence of education as an inalienable right but also hampers the nation’s progress. Additionally, lack of awareness about this rule exacerbates the problem. Swift and effective action is now imperative. To address this concerning trend, the establishment of a regulatory body emerges as a prudent step forward.
Such a body would be tasked with monitoring private schools’ compliance with the enrollment mandate, as well as imposing fines on those found in breach. These fines should be substantial, designed to make non-compliance economically unviable. Furthermore, the fines levied could be directed towards funding tuition fees for underprivileged students. Such a self-sustaining mechanism ensures that the financial penalties imposed are utilised on the very group that the mandate is intended to benefit, thereby reinforcing educational equality. However, apart from these regulatory measures, the onus lies on private schools that should recognise their pivotal role as catalyst of change. As the nation grapples with unprecedented inflation, it becomes even more imperative for these institutions to fulfil their social responsibility. It is about time that these institutions rose up for a greater cause.