Pakistan: CESCR Concluding Observations, E/C.12/PAK/CO/1, paras. 81-82, 23 June 2017

Pakistan: CESCR Concluding Observations, E/C.12/PAK/CO/1, paras. 81-82, 23 June 2017

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CESCR Concluding Observations
paras. 81-82
23 June 2017

Privatization of education

81. The Committee notes that the State party is conducting the Basic Education Community Schools Programme (BECS) and that under this programme the number of so-called “low-fee” private schools has been drastically increasing throughout the country in the form of public-private partnership initiatives. It also notes the information provided by the State party that the cost-benefit ratio of BECS projects is higher than that of formal primary schools of the government. The Committee, however, is concerned at:

(a) The absence of proper assessments of the impact of the BECS and the public-private partnership initiatives on the right to education prior to their adoption as well as of their effectiveness in realizing the right to education since their adoption;
(b)The lack of effective regulation by the State party, at federal and provincial levels, of these low-fee private schools;
(c) The reportedly poor quality of education and teachers of these schools;
(d) The very high non-fee expenses of these schoolsamounting to about a quarter of household income per student, which disproportionately impedes girls’ access to education;
(e) The reinforcement of the social segregation in education by this privatization of education, in which high income families send their children to high quality private schools, while low income families have to send their children to underfunded public primary schools or to BECS schools not properly monitored by the State party (arts. 13 and 14).

82. The Committee recalls the State party that before starting a privatization process, a thorough human rights impact assessment would be necessary to live up to their legal obligation to progressively realize the right to education. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Carry out an assessment of the impact of public- private partnership initiatives based on a human rights perspective and the effectiveness of low-fee private schools in meeting the State party’s obligation under the Covenant; 
(b) Strengthen the regulations on these schools and ensure their strict enforcement;
(c) Improve the quality of education provided by these schools;
(d) Ensure that no children drop out of school for not being able to pay the non-fee expenses;
(e) Progressively eliminate social segregation in the education system by ensuring an education of equal quality to all children in all public and private schools.