ISLAMABAD - One Million Signature Campaign for Right to Education (RTE) was officially launched here at National Press Club on Tuesday.

The campaign aims to get one million signatures from the citizens, asking the government to implement the Article 25-A, which makes getting education a fundamental right of every child aged 5-16. The Article was inserted into the 1973 Constitution after the 18th Amendment.

Talking on the occasion, Ali Moeen Nawazish, ambassador for the campaign, stressed the need for implementation of Article 25-A in letter and spirit. He said that there was a need to sensitise the citizenry on the importance of right to education as well as to create awareness amongst the policymakers and the civil society on the issue.

Ayesha Bilal, Programme Manager Right to Education Campaign, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), asserted that education has now become a provincial subject after devolution in the 18th Amendment and now all the provincial governments must take steps to ensure provision of this right. She said that Pakistan currently has the most out-of-school children in South Asia.

However, as of now, very little has been done to improve the situation. She particularly thanked the partners of the campaign including National Commission for Human Development, Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD), British council, Child Rights Movement (CRM), Oxfam Novib, Oxfam GB, Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), and Dubai Cares for making this campaign possible. However, she stressed that this was an open campaign and anyone willing to contribute will most certainly be welcome to make their contribution for the campaign.

Dr Faisal Bari from FOSI on the occasion also asserted that education has to become the top-most priority for government. He said that education is a right after the 18th Amendment and it is high time that the citizens start demanding it from the government.

The campaign was officially launched by Ali Moeen Nawazish, as well as children who signed their names on the petition on Right to Education. They were followed by citizens from all walks of life, the civil society, teachers, parents, and others who also signed their name for the cause. The campaign will be conducted throughout the country, as it tries to get 1 Million signatures for Right to Education before the second anniversary of the 18th Amendment on April 19, 2012.