By: Zeeshan Nasir, Munaj Gul Muhammad, Ali Jan Maqsood and Barkat Ali.
Balochistan despite being the hub of natural resources and largest province in terms of area, still struggles in the education sector. On the far side of, the youths of Balochistan are out of schools and are left in the lurch to live peacefully. Whilst, the non-functional schools and unavailability of fundamental facilities in the schools are the main drives behind the widespread of enrollment of the school-going children.
As per as reports of Ailf Ailan are concerned, there are over 13845 primary middle and high schools in the province with respectively. It is startling to note up that the students need to travel over 30 kilometers to reach in the nearest primary schools and this is one of the reasons behind the drop out of students.
A non-governmental organization Ailf Ailan unveils that each year 429000 boys are enrolled in primary schools with 322000 girls. Many schools — more than 6,000 — are deprived of proper classrooms, toilets and basic infrastructure. In many rural areas, primary and middle schools consist of a single room with no sanitation facilities. It is estimated that over 30% of schools are in each of Balochistan’s districts.
The government in their tenures have hardly executed effective strategies to provide a suitable remedy to increase the enrollment of children. The dropout rate has remained abysmal at primary, middle and high school levels and the provincial and federal governments have failed to take notice of the matter. Withal, the dearth of schools for girls, shortage of teachers, habitual absenteeism among the teaching faculty and the failure to select teachers on merit has worked as catalysts behind the deteriorated educational system.
According to a report by the Academy for Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM) that 1.8 million children in Balochistan do not attend school, over half of whom are girls.
We are observant to the fact that every parent in Balochistan wish their children to study in private school since the government school-teachers children don’t even study at government schools. Indubitably, private schools here in Balochistan dispense quality education alongside basic amenities. They have competent teachers and result in better outcomes.
Before three months or four, we visited two government-run schools in Kolahoo and Hoothabad to gather information. To our surprise, both of them painted a bleak picture of neglect.
One of the students based in Kolahoo (A village in Tump tehsil) lamented, “By the time, my child turned seven, I enrolled him to the nearby middle school in the village which is two kilometers far away. Unable to bear the transport costs, I would always accompany him to school myself. But when I witnessed that he couldn’t read the Urdu and English books of grade 3 despite being enrolled in Grade 8th, I took him out of school school and told him to do farming in the field.”
Further he added, “We cannot go for a lot of expenses to educate our children well since we are can not afford that.”
Article 25-A of the Constitution puts it in no uncertain terms: “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law.” Many in Balochistan have been vociferously calling for this basic right, along with all other constitutional rights, to be upheld in the province. But we see none of our representatives working to protect and preserve these rights.
Locals here in Balochistan bear witness that government school principals and teachers seldom remain present without any plain reasons. A myriad number of teachers who work in foreign countries or locally grease the palms of the principal. A great many teachers who have political power, often pressurize the principals to mark their attendance and transfer the principals if they fail to act accordingly.
It pinpoints to the fact that Balochistan government has yet to acknowledge the importance of education for the prosperity of a nation. Providing a basic quality education remains the topmost priority of any government since enrolment at schools will not boost up until the crises related to the deteriorated education system are dealt with properly in the province.