The True Picture Of Education Sector In Balochistan
Getting the dropouts back into school remains a long haul in Balochistan until and unless schooling is accessible to all. Similarly, the dreams of the out-of-school children are ruined due to the dismal state of education, expensive fee structure and the government’s disinterest towards bringing improvements in education sector. Hence, it is not a surprise, in the given scenario, the 21st century Balochistan has more than 1.9 million out-of-school children, including 927,542 boys and 984,128 boys.
Sara, one of the dropouts narrated, “I wish that I was enrolled in a school like my other friends, but unluckily, my broken legs means I cannot walk to any school. My parents cannot afford the expenses of my schooling.”
It is not just Sara, as there are many other children who had to quit their primary schooling because of the manifold reasons.
I met two shoeshiner boys aged 12 to 14 in Quetta. When they asked me whether I want to get my shoes polished, I didn’t know what to say. After a while, I asked them to sit beside me and asked what made them compelled to wander in every corner of the city to ask people for money. Naturally, a question popped up: why are they out of school?
“We are made to work! Whenever we fail to earn more than 50 rupees in a day, we are punished by our elders. Everyone wishes to live a comfortable life, but we, the children of Balochistan, are left to suffer,” replied one of them, while sharing his plight with his face covered by tears.
It is clear that our government and the civil society have failed to get the out-of-school children back into school, because they never bother to work seriously for progress in the province.
Recently, the provincial government has set a target to enrol 28,136 new children, but it needs to understand that getting the children into school is one thing and educating them is another. In fact, getting quality education has been an illusion for masses since the established schools lack the fundamental necessitates. As many as 9,247 government-run school in the province have no drinking water and 9,838 are without toilets facilities.
Lately, Chief Minister Jam Kamal has taken notice of deteriorating condition of government schools and directed all the commissioners concerned to visit every school, ordering them to submit the record. This step is appreciable, but it must not remain a phantasm. Similar directives were passed in the past to get the issues solved, but the province has never get any benefits from such words.
I witnessed for a long time that none of the authorities concerned ever visited most of the villages in many of which the students study in open sky. In many parts of Balochistan, there are no schools and the youth are working in gardens or collecting garbage.
One of the out-of-school children, Doda, says, “When I see children of my age going to schools having bags and wearing uniforms, I too, wish to be enrolled. But sadly I am the only one in the family to work and earn money for our survival.”
Millions of children in the province can’t have their dreams realised. Perhaps it is the scale of the challenge in the province that has made the education authorities feel helpless. The government must establish new schools in the province and pass laws to ban child labour. The Article 25 (A) needs application if the government really wishes to see any change in education sector.
The writer is a student of Law at University of Turbat and a part-time teacher at DELTA. He can be reached at [email protected]