By: Ali Jan Maqsood
“Bahi, yeh le lo na. Aaj ka khana ho jayega (Brother, buy them, please, we will have our meal of the day.)” A middle-aged lady with her school-going aged daughter pleaded handing few pens to sell when I was on my way back to my plaza from University Law College, Quetta.
Balochistan, despite providing sufficient revenue to the state with the natural resources, is ranked very in 2018 low Human Development Index. The neglected province has suffered harshly with dense poverty ration era by era: 2001 to 2005 it was 48%; 50.9% till 2006, 86% by the end of 2008 and 71% by 2016.
Whereas the province has suffered manifold dilemmas when it comes to education. Albeit, the government-in-rule is said to give more priority to education, things seem opposite by now. The education system keeps depressing the citizens.
The citizens keep hoping for reforms in the education and lives of natives of Balochistan. Things might go in the similar direction in the near future as well if the current issues are not resolved.
We are unable to decide between education and a day’s meal
Asifa, a 7 year old girl of Quetta city, says to have similar complaints about the government saying, “I, too, wish to have a pen as other children of my age do, but I am unable to decide between my education and a day’s meal?”
70% children of the province are out of school
A report by Alif Ailan declared that more than 70% children of the province are out of schools: approximately 630,000 primary school-going children along with 1.25 million of middle and high school-going-aged are deprived of access to schools.
But, sending the children in schools is one thing, educating them is another.
Many enrolled children in public schools of the poverty-stricken province are unable to write a sentence in major languages they are taught at school; Urdu and English.
My recent visit to a middle school in a village of Makran unveiled that the students of middle section were unable to give the response of “how are you?” in English.
“Mai waja wat English nazana, maara koja che soj dayant (Our teachers themselves do not know how to write or speak English, how can they teach us?)” said a student of class 8th.
Besides this, the provincial government plans to enroll a number of almost 500,000 children in schools, but the fact that surprises all is, half of the schools of Balochistan are with either a single room or a single teacher. And, most of the teachers have been appointed on the base of nepotism who themselves do not know what to teach and how.
On the other hand, women in the province face hindrances in acquiring education, for gender discrimination yet prevails in the province with very high ratio.
“How come I educate my daughter as she is meant to be someone else’s?” A mother told me that too in Turbat, the second biggest city of Balochistan.
In the past giving the least value and respect to girls and women, even calling them “burdens” was normal. Even today, many families give educational priority to males on the basis of their economy.
Suppose, a family has the capability to educate one child, a male would be the primary preference. In Balochistan, the major reason of some females getting out-of-school is of preferring males more than females as a lack of economical equipment towards educating their children.
Thus, a governmental approach towards mainstreaming education, whether males or females, would be worthy to look forward prosperity coming home. It takes both hands to make a sound.
A better education is the only source to eliminate poverty in the province and bring social development, specifically in thoughts of people. Federal and provincial governments need to be altogether to make strategies for facilitating Balochistan with better facilities.
The writer is a student at University Law College, Quetta and a former teacher at DELTA in Turbat.