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Future of a Child born in Pakistan
Sargodha, the city of eagles, is a beautiful city in Pakistan known for its citrus fruits. The city is home to buildings like the Jinnah Hall and the Jinnah Library. Its beauty has faded, however, behind unemployment, energy shortage, poverty and many social problems. A majority of people living here are poor farmers or workers among them is Salman.
Problems multiply for Salman when he thinks about the child who will welcome his family in a few months. He is concerned about the child’s future which is not looking bright to him.
Children are the primary source of worries for average parents in Pakistan. They compromise on their own needs over those of their children. Salman is preparing for the same. His days are uneasy, and his nights are restless.
The first challenge that parents face is their children’s schooling. The country’s education system is divided. The rich go for schools run under the Cambridge system of education. Those who belong to the middle class choose private schools operated by the matric system. People like Salman who struggle to make their ends meet are left with government schools which function under the later system.
Government Education: An option
The current state of government education does not invoke feeling of pride in an average Pakistani. There are 2,600,095 schools in Pakistan out of which 144,724 are public. These schools lack necessary facilities. Many schools do not have toilets, playground or even a boundary wall. Many are found only on paper. A good thing about such schools is that they provide an easy source of earning to their teachers.
Salman has the option to choose that public highway for his child. His family will suffer for some years but they should اremain optimistic. However, he has another alternative. He can enroll his child in a privately held school. Recent trends show that parents prefer to enroll their children in private schools. The quality of education as well as facilities there is better than those in public schools. His child like many other children will not have the privilege to study there because of the high fees.
The Jinn of Child Labor.
Instead of individuals with strong academic foundation, cheap labor for the factories, fields and workshops is being produced. According to the latest survey conducted sixteen years ago in 1996 by the federal bureau of statistics, an estimate of 3.3 million (from 40 million) children from ages 5 to 14 were actively involved in the work force.
Laws preventing child labor in Pakistan
Child labor is illegal in Pakistan, but like many other laws, the child labor prevention laws are yet to take any attention. The Article 11(3) of the constitution of Pakistan prohibits employment of any child below the age of 14. A number of acts such as the Employment of Children Act (ECA), 1991, the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (proclaimed in October 2002) and the Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1992, forbid the employment of children below specific ages with or without their will.
The statistics show that Salman’s child does not seem to have a future as bright as some of his countrymen. But a change in attitude is obvious in the society. People, especially living in urban areas, are beginning to prefer schools over workplaces for their children. This change is driven by many factors mainly by the electronic media. Every night ends at day, and the night for Salman and many like him is about to over in my country, Pakistan.
The government has a role to play here. The government of Pakistan has declared education as children’s fundament right. This does not take the responsibility off our shoulders as citizens. It is better not to recruit any minor than to lower production costs or increase earnings.