An Act to provide for free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years

[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part-I, 24th December, 2012]

No. F. 23(43)/2012-Legis.—The following Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) received the assent of the President on the 19th December. 2012 and is hereby published for general information:-

WHEREAS it is expedient to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in schools established by the Federal Government and Local Government in Islamabad Capital Territory;

It is hereby enacted as follows:-

1.       Short title, extent and commencement.—(1) This Act may be called the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2012.

(2)     It shall extend to the Islamabad Capital Territory.

(3)     It shall come into force on such date and in such areas, as the Federal Government may, by notification in the Official gazette, appoint.

2.       Definitions.—In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,—

(a)     "Appropriate Government" means,—

          (i)      in relation to a school established, owned or controlled by the Federal Government, the Federal Government; and

          (ii)     in relation to a school established, owned or controlled by the Local Government, the Local Government;

(b)     "capitation fee" means any donation, contribution or payment, by whatever name, other than the fee notified by the school or the appropriate Government;

(c)     "child" means a child including a child with special education needs, male or female, of the age of five to sixteen years of age;

(d)     "disadvantaged child" means a child who belongs to a socially and economically disadvantaged class, or group or belongs to such parent whose annual income is lower than the minimum limit specified by the appropriate Government, by the notification in the Official gazette;

(e)     "education" means the prescribed education for a child by the academic authority, notified by the Government;

(f)      "Education Advisory Council" means the Education Advisory Council established under this Act;

(g)     "free education" means education free of any education related costs including expenditure on stationery, school bags, and transport.

(h)     "notification" means a notification published in the Official gazette;

(i)      "parent" includes a person having the care and custody of a child and includes a natural guardian or legal guardian so appointed or declared by a Court.

(j)      "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(k)     "School" means any registered school imparting prescribed education and includes a,—

          (i)      A school established, owned or controlled by the appropriate Government;

          (ii)     A school receiving aid or grants from the appropriate Government to meet the whole or part of its expenses; and

          (iii)    A school not receiving any kind of aid or grants from the appropriate Government to meet its expenses.;

(l)      “screening procedure” means the method of selection for admission of a child, in preference over another, other than a random method; and

(m)    "special education" means educational programmes and practices designed for students as handicapped or gifted students, whose mental ability, physical ability, emotional functioning, etc. require special teaching approaches, equipment, or care within or outside a regular classroom.

3.  Right of child to free education.—(1) Every child, regardless of sex, nationality or race, shall have a fundamental right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school.

(2)     No child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee, charges, expenses, etc., which may prevent him from pursuing and completing the education.

(3)     It is the obligation of the appropriate Government to,—

(a)     provide free education to every child;

(b)     ensure admission of children of migrant families;

(c)     ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of education;

(d)     ensure safely of travel of the child and the teacher to and from school;

(e)     ensure availability of a neighbourhood school;

(f)      ensure that the disadvantaged child is not discriminated against and prevented from, on any grounds whatsoever, pursuing and completing education:

(g)     provide infrastructure including school building, playgrounds, laboratories, teaching learning material and reaching staff;

(h)     monitor functioning of schools within its jurisdiction;

(i)      decide the academic calendar;

(j)      provide all training facilities for teachers and students;

(k)     ensure good quality education conforming to the prescribed standards and norms;

(l)      ensure timely prescribing of curriculum and courses of study for education; and

(m)    provide proper training facility for teachers.

4.       Special provisions for education.—Where a child has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his education, then he shall be admitted in an appropriate class in a formal or non-formal school:

Provided that he shall, in order to be at par with others, have a right to receive special training, in such a manner, and within one academic year.

5.       Right of transfer to other school.—(1) Where in a school, there is no provision for completion of the prescribed education, a child shall have a right to seek transfer to any other school for completing his education.

(2)     Where a child is required to move from one school to another, for any reason whatsoever, such child shall have a right to seek transfer to any other school for completing his education.

(3)     for seeking admission in such other school, the in-charge of the school where such child was last admitted, shall immediately issue the transfer certificate:

Provided that delay in producing the transfer certificate shall not be a ground for cither delaying or denying admission in such other school:

Provided further that the in-charge of the school delaying issuance of transfer certificate or delaying or denying admission shall be liable for disciplinary action under the service rules.

6.       Duty of appropriate Government to establish school.—(1) The appropriate Government shall, for carrying out the provisions of this Act, establish, within such limits of neighbourhood as may be prescribed, a school, within a period of three years from the commencement of this Act.

(2)  The appropriate Government shall encourage enterprises, institutions and other segments of society, by offering incentives, to establish schools to facilitate free and compulsory education.

(3)  The appropriate Government shall establish a system of grants-in-aid to support the school attendance of poor students.

7.       Sharing of financial and other responsibilities.—(1) The Federal Government and the Local Government, if any, shall have concurrent responsibility for providing funds for carrying out the provisions of this Act.

(2)     The Federal Government may provide to the Local Government as grants-in-aid such percentage of expenditure for education as it may determine, from time to time, in consultation with the Local Government.

(3)     The Federal Government shall establish or specify, through notification, an academic authority to lay down the curriculum and evaluation procedures, including approval of syllabi and textbooks for students, to develop and enforce standards for training of teachers, and to provide technical support and resources for planning and capacity building of teachers and education managers.

8.       Duty of parents.—(1) The parent of a child shall, except in the case of a reasonable excuse, cause a child to attend a school in the neighbourhood until the said child has completed the prescribed education.

(2)  Reasonable excuse for the purpose of sub-section (1) shall include any of the following cases namely;—

(a)     where the School management Committee is satisfied that the child is incapable of attending school by reason of any infirmity or mental incapacity or it is not desirable that the child should be compelled to carry on his study further; or

(b)     where there is no School in the neighbourhood.

9.       Appropriate Government to provide pre-school education.—The appropriate Government may make necessary arrangements for providing free pre-school education and early childhood care for the children above the age of three years until they join the school for education.

10.     Responsibility of private school for free education.—For the purposes of this Act, a school,—

(a)     specified in sub-clauses (i) and (ii) of clause (k) of Section 2, shall provide free education to such proportion of children admitted therein as its annual aid or grant so received bears to its annual recurring expenses; and

(b)     specified in sub-clause (iii) of clause (k) of Section 2, shall admit in class I and then in every class, to the extent of at ten percent of the strength of that class, disadvantaged children in the neighbourhood and provide free education till the educational level of that school:

                    Provided that where a school specified in clause (b), imparts preschool education, the provisions of clauses (a) and (b) shall apply for admission to such pre-school education.

11.     No capitation fee and screening procedure.—(1) No school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his parents or parent to any screening procedure.

(2)  Any school or person, if in contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1),—

(a)     receives capitation fee, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty times the capitation fee charged for the first contravention and fifty thousand rupees for each subsequent contravention; and

(b)     subjects a child or parent to screening procedure, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees for the first contravention and one hundred thousand rupees for each subsequent contravention.

12.     Proof of age for admission.—For the purposes of admission to a school, the age of a child shall be determined on the basis of the Form-B of NADRA and birth certificate issued as prescribed:

Provided that no child shall be denied admission in a school for lack of proof of age.

13.     No denial of admission and expulsion.—(1) A child shall be admitted in a school at the commencement of every academic year:

Provided that no child shall be denied admission if such admission is sought subsequent to termination of admission period of the academic year:

Provided that any child subsequently admitted shall complete his studies in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2)     No child admitted in a school shall be expelled from school till the completion of the prescribed education.

(3)     No child shall be subjected to corporal punishment or mental harassment.

(4)     Whoever contravenes the provisions of this section, shall be liable to disciplinary action under the service rules.

14.  Registration of Schools.—(1) No school, other than a school established, owned or controlled by the appropriate Government, after the commencement of this Act, be established or function, without obtaining a certificate of registration from the prescribed authority.

(2)     The prescribed authority shall issue the certificate of registration in such form, within such period, in such manner, and subject to such conditions, as may be prescribed:

Provided that no such registration shall be granted to a school unless it fulfils the prescribed norms and standards.

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