Afsa 18, was fond of studying natural sciences, her good analysis of biological contents groomed her to think of being a good doctor in the future. Her father Saleem kept on helping her out to proceed with schooling in the quite patriarchal society till class eight in the Karbala girl’s high school. Seemingly, his hopes of growing his daughter’s education termed into mistrust over the educational institutions when he examined the irregularity and non-availability of teachers at school, the slow growth of continuity of education, and the less response of the teachers given to students. His preferences changed and he tended to enroll Afsa in Madrasa next to his home. She was married the subsequent year and is now a mother of one child.
“I could have been in the field of medicine if had carried out the schooling, things changed so harshly that brought de-escalations to my education. I feel desperate recalling those days in school, the books, the lectures, the debates, and the laboratory experiments. I wish I could continue my studies, the early marriage bonded me to the kitchen and home services”, Said Afsa in despair.
Back in 2010, The girl’s high school of Karbala – a town in district Pishin which according to 2017 census figures had 80,000 population – had once received an award for its vigilant efforts for education on a provincial level. Despite the fact it was a middle module school; the total strength counted to approximately 1,100 and the yearly early March campaign for new registries would bring increasing numbers of children towards school. It had set precedence in being a hub of good education in the district.
Nonetheless, it sought the status of the high school in 2014 but didn’t last with the same image! All the strength lowering to a halt mostly flowed to the newly established religious corners, the [Madrasas]. It now has 188 students and the educational activities seem dysfunctional.
In the year 2022 alone, Shumaila remains the only student of class ten who will be attempting her final matric exams the next month. The class-nine consists of two students, class-eight makes an arrangement of four students, class-six has eight students, and class-five with fourteen students.
Many schools in Balochistan have no walls or shelters
Nasra Sabir serves as school headmistress since 2018 in the same school where Afsa had made her schooling. She is of the view regarding the parental mistrust over the school staff, it indeed is admissible to address the parents’ grievances of mistrust over the school staff’s punctuality. Half the staff makes their access from far scattered areas, they lack proper convince reaching out the school timely.
Though the recent floods have shed massive impacts on educational activities, we are determined to gear up an educational campaign. We are making efforts to make parents enroll their children in the school. The number of teachers probably cannot comprehend all the classes, there are a total of 9 teachers available in school whereas the overall staff should be about 15 to fully meet the educational need of the girls. I have submitted a request to the education department for more staff as per the school requirement”.
Switching off the vaguely odd thoughts to a more soft and innovative thinking Maulana Amin-Ullah who serves as a cleric in a mosque in Karbala; he seems happy receiving his elder son Aman Ullah’s matriculation result in a good score. He persuades his son to continue his studies in the future.
“I have felt the need to grow our children educated, to make compatibility with the technological era, the 21st-century dynamics; the parents have to understand for a greater cause. I conveniently made many reluctant fathers agree to enroll their children in school and no doubt, girls will also be provided equal opportunities to get an education”, he said vividly.
In several plots of the [Holy Quran], Islam stresses getting an education as it is essential for a living but also maps up the environment in which the teaching is to be given. I guess, if there is a safe environment for girls in the educational institutes, Islam doesn’t put confinements or bonds to stop girls from getting an education. He discussed.
“I think the Islamic education shall come annexing in the school course codes, Islamic scholars be given space in the set-up, so that, both the worldly and the religious studies may accommodate all together. To discuss ‘Madrasa’s a reason for the decreasing number of school strength, I agree, but would stick to the point of making combined study course where the two curriculums could be run equally”, Maulana Amin-Ullah added.
Sarbaz Ali, 32, is a social activist working on girls’ education in Union Council Badizai of district Pishin. He discusses how the UC collapsed into rigidity. He still remembers his younger brother sharing the desk with his female fellow in the middle school situated in the mid-east of the village. ‘Post 9/11, we saw a massive number of Madrasas established in the area that… brought breaks to the school-going girls. Those willing girls who wanted to pursue their matric studies ahead’, Sarbaz discussed.
In the calculation of the 2017 census, district Pishin abounds about 736,481 population. The District Education Officer (Pishin) said that the school-going students count to a total strength of 58,823 of which 40,591 are boys and 18,232 are girls. The education department has arranged a total of 3,322 deployments of human resources in the district, of which, there are 1,182 women and 2,140 men working on developing education with 2,886 teaching staff and 436 non-teaching staff.
The 2020 survey of the education department Balochistan figures a total of 423,741 girls enrolled in the province. Similarly, the reports of the education department published yearly explain that there are 3,140 primary schools, 645 middle schools, 403 high schools, and 50 higher-secondary schools in the year 2020 in Balochistan.
Balochistan is an underrated society that has yet not developed the strategy shaping society’s collective psyche. There has to be a fledged policy bringing it to a mainstream track. Women need an equal part in all the imparting walks and stakes.
Girls’ education receives little to no attention in major parts of the province
“The recent floods shed a whole abruption impacting the routine of the society. We have had a strategy to begin the March school enrollment campaign in cooperation with the education department in the just past 2020, but couldn’t do so because of the floods that made relocations of the population in the village”, discussed Dr. Yasir Khan Bazai, who serves as DC Pishin.
The district administration in nexus with the education department is making efforts for high-strength enrollment in schools in 2023. The campaign portrays a slogan, “A kid in school and teacher in Class” and the awareness campaign is run through masses, street walks, mosque loudspeakers, wall paintings, and mobilization of the community leads, said Yasir.
Shanaz Khan is in the field serving as District Education Officer since 2018 in the district, she feels safe and happy walking in the streets of Pishin, “the residents respond supportive in the enrollment campaign but we are feeble at making our part to provide quality education, building structure, and the utmost ensuring teacher’s presence in class. To get the pivot attention of parents, agreeing for them to enroll their children in schools, immediate efforts are required to understand the needs and get to a legally suitable solution. We are acquiring the newly recruited young lot and deploying it to fix the issue”. She said.
The reason for the teacher’s absence in class and not giving timely response to students; which has given voids to the parents’ hopes, is their far-scattered living from the school’s location in the district. Some find convince difficulties in reaching the school. Most of the staff come from the capital Quetta. Those local recruits are also settled out of the district and seem to be irregular understanding no weight of their responsibility, Shanaz explained.
“I have admired the situation during my tenure and have come to understand if the department manages to strengthen the school system and bring a rhythmic flow in education provision, no girl will leave the school and that would make their equal representation in society”. She said
The 2017 population survey elaborates a total of 20.08 million population of province Balochistan. In the fiscal year 2020/2021, the provincial PSDP assessed an amount of 139.996M estimation for the education sector.
Seeing all the scenarios, it comes to entail that the overall girls’ education growth is underrated in the province. On one part, the post-9/11 war wave has brought a hiking number of madrasas that have impacted the children’s strength and paved its flow out of school. On the other, the inattentiveness and poor consultancy of the government over developing a suitable strategy to combat illiteracy doesn’t seem intact. The girls’ education should be a priority for society as a whole, so that, they could also step out in the field and walk in the streets of Pishin and 31 other districts of Balochistan; safe and educated.
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