Karachi: The provincial assembly of Sindh on Wednesday approved a bill making free education mandatory for children aged 5 to 16 in government and private sector schools.
The bill was tabled by Pir Maharul Haq, the provincial education minister, and approved by the provincial parliamentarians to make it a law.
The law provided that the government would bear all the expenses of stationery, books, transportation and school bags for students.
Private school owners will also be obliged to ensure a 20 per cent quota in each class for poor students and they will not be charged a fee.
Private schools not availing of government subsidy would also be bound to allocating five per cent of seats for the deserving students.
The government set a fine of Rs50,000 (Dh3,400) for non-compliance of the new education scheme.
The government of Sindh has allocated Rs15.5 billion for the education sector in the province out of its total Rs577 billion budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013.
Out of the total Rs15.5 billion, Rs769 million was earmarked for elementary education.
The literacy rate in Pakistan is said to be more than 50 per cent but independent researchers say the rate is below 25 per cent.
Pakistan is among the countries that spend a small amount on its education and health sectors as the majority of its national resources go to internal and external debt and defence.