By Maria Afridi
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. It occupies immense importance not only historically but also culturally and geographically. It constitutes 42% (342, 190 Km2) of the total landmass of Pakistan. Notwithstanding this, the population density is the lowest of all the other provinces of the country owing to tough terrain, mountains and scarcity of water.
Take for instance education which is the most neglected sector in province. As per a recent economic survey, female literacy rate is only 13% and that of male is approximately 38%. This is, perhaps, the lowest in the region. These statistics paint a diametrically different picture of the claims that have been raised from time to time by the provincial government. More than a million children are out of school. Alarmed enough? Wait, there is more. Balochistan is, without exaggeration, the poorest province as far as literacy level goes. Per capita female education ratio is the lowest in the entire world.
female literacy rate is only 13% and that of male is approximately 38%. This is, perhaps, the lowest in the region.Economic survey report
This is alarming!
There is preponderance of ghost schools and teachers’ absenteeism. According to a standard data, almost 36 schools are closed in Awaran district of Balochistan are ghost. Alarmed enough? Wait, there is more. Rs 110 billion were spent on infrastructure betterment, but nothing great was done for service delivery, a much needed step, indeed. A large number of girl drop-outs are common observation. Owing to schools in far flung areas, many girls have to travel and cover long distances to pursue their dreams. What is more, they have no transportation facilities at their disposal too.
In the same vein, those who finally survive the onerous obstacles in their way and happen to reach in higher classes or higher institutions of the province, find themselves in lurch due to lack of quality education. In this context, it would not be out of place to say that, quality education is missing from the scene. Unlike other provinces, Balochistan lags far behind as far as education is concerned.
Besides, there is a severe shortage of talented science lecturers. Merit based recruitment of teachers is a pipe-dream. Most schools and colleges are lacking in libraries which is a must. Lab equipment, safe drinking water, toilets and gymnasiums can be found nowhere. So far, the government has not chalked out any plan to end this unfair business for good. As a consequence of all this, the literacy rate of Balochistan is only 34%. The government needs to take some swift and sagacious steps in order to ameliorate and remedy the root causes of this enigma. Any time-lag will destroy the future of the province root and branch.
The writer is a student at Dept of Eastern Medicine, University of Balochistan.