Women’s Education in Balochistan
In Balochistan, women’s education is not good enough due to the systematic biased discriminatory policies. Also, it is fortunate to know that in the country’s least educated province women are often encouraged to get education by their parents. But, in spite of it, the state of women’s education is not satisfactory due to lack of the educational facilities, institutions, and the negligence of the government that has not been doing enough to take practical steps for the improvement of women’s education. This is why women literacy rate is very low in the province, and in rural parts, it is shockingly estimated just 2 per cent.
In 21st century, women of Balochistan, except Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, do not have a single university in the remaining 29 districts. So, how can women in the rest of Balochistan get higher education despite having the desire and enthusiasm for it? Women in Balochistan lag behind because they are deprived of the fundamental right to education.
It is pertinent to assert that Balochistan makes Pakistan’s huge land mass. Its land mass is approximately 44 per cent, is somewhat like the land mass of France. But it is educationally in a deplorable condition where women are illiterate in a great number.
Moreover, in Balochistan’s rural parts, there are no female lecturers to teach at girls’ colleges; instead, male lecturers of the boys’ colleges perform their duties there in evening time. There are also girls’ colleges in these areas without the transport system. Due to these reasons, female students either get compelled to quit the college or they remain absent from the classes the whole year.
According to BSAC (Baloch Students Action Committee), there are many union councils even in Balochistan’s those districts that are near the Quetta, like Mastung, Kalat and Nushki, do not have schools, colleges for girls. So, if it is the condition of Balochistan’s urban areas, then what about the rural areas of Balochistan?
In Balochistan’s 65 years’ history, government has not done any remarkable works for the both sexes’ education. There are no checks and balances in the education sector. There are schools that are without buildings, electricity and devoid of drinking water. This is the reason education system is declining day by day in the province.
As far as non- governmental organizations (NGOs) are concerned; they highly claim to be working for women rights to education. But they are just confined in the Quetta city (Balochistan’s provincial capital). They rarely and hardly go out of Quetta city to have a look at women’s pitiable education in its rural parts. On the contrary, these NGOs are granted huge funds and salaries against their work. However, these NGOs ought to visit Balochistan’s Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Chagai, Awaran and Washuk districts where women illiteracy rate is more than 90 per cent.
According to a survey, Balochistan’s total literacy rate is 34 per cent against the national literacy rate of 52 per cent-57 per cent of which is for the Punjab, 50 per cent for Sindh and 49 per cent for the KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The literacy rate among males in Balochistan is 39 per cent, the lowest in the country. The Punjab has 60 per cent and Sindh and KP both have 54. Similarly, the literacy rate among women in Balochistan is also the worst in the country. With only 27 per cent literate women, Balochistan stands poorly against the national female literacy rate of 48 per cent-53 per cent for the Punjab, 42 per cent for Sindh and 27 per cent for the KP.
On the other hand, government officials enunciate that they are working hard to provide all sorts of educational facilities to the students. One of the government officials when this writer spoke denied the reports of women’s educational institutions’ closure in the province. He said, “In Balochistan, we have presently 3408 girls’ schools, 22 girls’ inter colleges, 13 girls’ degree colleges, 16693 female teachers in government schools with girls’ enrollment of 429784.” He also said that they had been appointing teachers in Balochistan’s rural parts so that students may be imparted education in a better way.
However, it was previously said that the government could not take up cogent steps for the education of the province, especially of woman. But this time the Balochistan’s those nationalists have won who said to work for the education of the province. So, let not be bereft of hope that the new government will do for the women education of the province.
Published in The Baloch Hal on June 21, 2013