Tired Of Govt’s Empty Promises, Sumaira Has Started Teaching Children In Balochistan For Free
Balochistan is believed to be the most moneyed, culturally well-endowed and resource-rich province of Pakistan, but the least developed in terms of education.
I believe the influence of illiteracy is more affluent in desolation and spreading hatred among the inhabitants of any region than all other issues. But, unfortunately, our government seems to lack interest to redeem the deplorable sector of education in Balochistan.
One of my cousins Sumaira lives in Mosi Mangiani Goth located in Hub Chowki, an industrial area.
She tells me that the condition of people, especially children, in the area saddens her as poverty continues to soar. Residents of Mangiani Goth do not send their children to schools because they simply cannot afford the expenses.
The area is yet to have a primary school despite being home to a large number of people.
Owing to the unfortunate circumstances, Sumaira and her cousin Hina Imam have decided to promote education on their own and spread awareness. They have started a small tuition centre in the area which is free of cost.
“At the beginning, we faced a lot of criticism from the area’s superiors and others. It was harder to persuade parents to send children to school. We conducted a door-to-door campaign. Initially, we started with 4 children, but now we have around 80,” Sumaira said.
She said that the two had requested the authorities to provide the residents with a school, but received no response.
According to Sumaira’s brother Irfan, she teaches 80 odd kids and looks after her home and 3 kids with tremendous hard work and courage.
Article 25-A of the Constitution puts it in no uncertain terms: “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law.”
Literacy is undoubtedly the major cornerstone in the fight against poverty. However, literacy ratio in Balochistan has remained lowest in the country throughout history. Currently, it stands at 41% whereas the literacy rate in Punjab, Sindh and KP is 62%, 55% and 53% respectively.
There is also a great risk of soaring illiteracy that could result in numerous issues such as unemployment, ignorance, poverty, insurgency and etc. Illiteracy and poverty leads to people opting unhealthy and unlawful means. For example, the province’s unemployed population inverts to larceny, drug addicted, begging etc. This practice swallows the peace and prosperity of any society.
To bring peace and enhance economic well-being, we have to introduce our children to reading culture and awareness.
Instead of other structural developments, the provision of governmental educational institutions as schools, colleges and universities must be the first and top priority of the responsible government.