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A dismal state of education in Balochistan

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The coalition government had allocated 24 per cent of the budget during the financial year 2014-15.

However, Adviser to the Chief Minister Balochistan on Education, Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareech says more than 75 per cent of the budget was spent on non-development, whereas, only 25 per cent budget was spent on development of the education sector.

The number of government-run primary, middle and high schools has reached around 13, 000 with 1.3 million girls and boys students across the province, lagging behind other provinces in terms of key social indicators.

“Still 1.7 million children are out of school, despite government’s recent campaign”, Sardar Bareech tells an all parties conferences organised by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences in Quetta.

Balochistan government has already declared education emergency and enforced article 25-A of the constitution.

However, a large number of girls and boys who remain out of school, put a question mark over the performance of nationalists led government in the province.

Sardar Bareech, portrays a bleak picture of state of education and especially regarding female education.

Two out of three girls are out of school in Balochistan, he informs, urging the political parties to join hands to strengthen the government for enrolment of out of school children.

Political leaders including Awami National Party’s MPA, Zamarak Achakzai, Akhtar Hussain Langove of Balochistan National Party (BNP), Dr. Ishaq Baloch National Party, Maulana Wali Turabi of JUI (F), Abdul Mateen Akhundzada Jamaat e Islami (JI), Jaffar Khan Kakar Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and others spoke about the state of education and government schools in the province.

The political leaders were of the view, that, without education democracy cannot flourish and Pakistan cannot come at par with the developed world.

They however, lamented that despite major announcements on part of successive governments and military dictators, the state of education was dismal in Balochistan.

“Our kids must be taught education in their mother language”, demands Zamarak Achakzai.

Most of the speakers lash out on the present government, for what they consider its failure to develop the curriculum, especially in the aftermath of historic 18th amendment that empowers the provinces in this regard.

They also demand an end to class education and demanded quality education for all.

“Quality education is the right of every child”, Akhtar Hussain Langove tells the APC. He points out that most of the schools are without basic facilities in Quetta’s suburb areas.

Maulana Wali Turrabi, the Quetta Amir of JUI (F) thus stats that besides schools Madaris (religious seminaries) are also delivering their services in terms of promotion of education.

He informs the participants of the APC that there are 1667 Madaris registered with Wafaq ul Madaris in Balochistan.

“You have to support the Madaris too”, Turabi asks of the Adviser while referring to the role of seminaries in the province.

According to provincial industries department in Balochistan, the number of registered madaris is more than 2000, whereas, the number of non-registered is also in thousands in the province.

The political leaders paint a bleak picture of state of government-run schools in rural Balochistan and urge upon the government to bring reforms in the education sector.

Some speakers term poverty, unemployment and law and order situation, as reasons behind educational backwardness and low literacy rate.

“Children of poor and marginalised families are deprived of education”, Mateen Akhundzada, the JI Amir tells the participants.

The drop out rate is too high in schools in Balochistan. Out of 1.3 million children, only around 50000 students appear in metric examinations every year.

“Now we have no clue where these kids go after abandoning their education”, says Sardar Bareech.

He reiterates that half of Balochistan is deprived of schools in Balochistan since the province has 22,000 settlements as per the 1998 census and the number of schools is currently 13,000.

Delay in census has also caused problems for the governments in terms of framing policies. The government has no accurate data about the population of Balochistan, unemployment, and poverty, etc.

The speakers also emphasise the need for increasing the capacity of teachers to improve the quality of education. The Institute of Social and Policy Sciences also proposes that the budget for the training teachers before and after recruitments should be increased.

The political parties criticise increasing fees of private schools and demand a check and balance on them.

Sardar Bareech thus informs, that private educational institutions are only catering 2 per cent students in Balochistan.

However, Jaffar Khan Kakar of PTI intervenes and says that despite all odds the private schools in Balochistan are imparting quality education as compared to government-run schools.

The Balochistan government has for the first time introduced appointments of teacher through national testing service.

Currently more than 1 lac candidates applied for 4,300 vacant posts of teachers in Balochistan through NTS.

“This step of government can be appreciated”, Mateen Akhundzada of JI admits in the APC. At least transparency is being shown in appointment of teachers, he says.



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