2.3 Out Of 3.6 Million School-Age Children Out Of School In Balochistan
Balochistan is full of natural resources which rest of Pakistan is making full use of. The province itself, however, is lawless, poor and suffering from umpteenth problems. People in the province are being deprived of their basic rights.
According to a research, more than 2.3 million out of 3.6 million school-age children in Balochistan are out of school. Not only does the province faces a dire lack of educational facilities, but other problems such as lack of health care facilities, lack of sanitation areas, and no access to clean drinking water is also making life in the province miserable.
The past leadership promised to provide schools to the children, but those were mostly words, not actions. No funds were given to build more schools and bring in more teachers. It is estimated that around 12,000 primary, middle and high schools are available across the province with 56,000 teachers. But around 2,000 schools are not functioning in a good manner and most of them are closed.
Moreover, 3,000 plus teachers are not performing their duties. Yet, no action has been taken. Besides, around 2,000 schools are closed. In Quetta, 700 teachers are functioning with fake degrees, and enjoy complete impunity.
Government’s response? Silence.
According to the Society for Empowering Human Resources, nearly 47 percent of the school-age children in Balochistan do not have access to education, and more than 1 million children have never attended school.
According to a story published in Dawn, most of the out-of-school students are sent to madrassas because parents cannot afford school education. The madrassas provide food, accommodation and other necessary things which government schools do not, which is another reason why children are sent to seminaries.
In comparison to government schools, private ones are working properly, and are systematically stronger than public schools. But the problem is that not everyone can afford private schooling in Balochistan. In fact, most can’t even think of it. Mostly, children from well-to-do backgrounds are admitted to private schools.
But shouldn’t all children be equally treated? It’s true that those who have the resources have the right to provide the best of education to their children, but what about those who lack fortunes? They are the government’s responsibility.
Children who don’t go to school are put into labor to support their families financially. There is no government-led study on child labor in Pakistan, but according to estimates, 3.3 million children in the country are working. Balochistan has 1/6th of the child labor population, despite it being the least populated province.
In Quetta alone, more than 10,000 children are working as laborers, 60 percent of them are working as garbage collectors. Others are working in dangerous places such as coal mines and are at high risk.
It is often said that only education can make a nation developed, but in Balochistan, the children are deprived of their basic educational rights. In such circumstances, who will work for the development of Balochistan?
I urge the educational boards to work on the education sector and provide basic facilities to the children so that each and every one of them could be enrolled in schools.