The National Assembly has passed a bill envisaging free education to students up to the age of 16. Private schools would also have to admit a certain number of poor students. This ought to have been done much earlier, though if implemented strictly, it can change the society. It must be noted that the fees in government schools are nominal. Thus, the need is to improve the existing conditions in government schools. No doubt, overhauling the decrepit school infrastructure is a Herculean task, but without accomplishing it the purpose of the bill would not be achieved.

The shortage of schools and the teachers and the disinterest in imparting education generally shown by those teachers who are already in service, the depressingly low salaries, lack of furniture, poor maintenance of buildings, the ghost schools and the use of schools for keeping cattle or as marriage halls – all these evils and many others, fairly rampant in far-flung areas, have to be taken care of. It is for these reasons that parents resort to private schools even though they charge exorbitant fees. Now that the National Assembly has passed the bill, it is also the provinces’ responsibility to follow it up without delay.