Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) has finally approved the bill that makes primary and secondary education compulsory for all children between 5 to 16 years of age. Under the bill, education will be imparted free of cost in all public sector educational institutions, and more importantly, the parents could be held accountable for negligence and would become punishable with imprisonment of up to one month or fine which may extend up to Rs100 per day for not sending their children to schools.

Even though Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab already have this law in place that makes secondary education of children the responsibility of the state, the KPK government has displayed commitment towards the cause by enhancing its allocation for primary and secondary education to over Rs100 billion last year introducing a number of reforms in the sector. It set out to ensure that parents, students, researchers and other people have access to government schools by introducing the School Management Information System (SMIS). By digitising the information, parents and government functionaries could get information on a single click, promoting a culture of transparency and accountability in the schools.

It also collaborated with the British Council to provide training to 83,000 teachers of government schools and also began improving the infrastructure of more than 15,000 schools. The KPK Elementary and Secondary Education department also started an initiative in 2014 to encourage teachers and appreciate their hard work. Under this programme, the KPK government incentivised attendance and awarded 120 schools in 2014-15 and distributed Rs50 million among the best teachers and principals of government schools across the province. What is more, the number of teachers and allocation for the programme has doubled in 2015-16. Other provinces can learn from the political commitment displayed in KPK, while it is hoped that the KPK government sticks to its move to secular education, at least at the primary level, as it can provide better facilities to girls.