LORALAI: The leadership of both right and left-wing political parties gathered at a landmark conference entitled ‘Loralai Taleemi Jirga, Election 2018’ vowed for the provision of quality education in their respective constituencies – if they were elected. As general elections 2018 just round the corner, ticket holder and independent candidates contesting the polls discussed the state of education and reiterated their commitment to put education as top priority and ensure facilities in government-run schools in their constituencies. The Jirga was organized by Sabawon organization in collaboration with Alif Ailaan, which was attended by NA-258 & PB-4 candidates belong to different political parties, representatives of social organizations, journalists and people from all walks of life. Program Manager BRSP Allah Dad Nasar and Regional Campaign organizer AWARE Abid Sherani were also among those who attended the event. Founder Sabawon organization Saboor Zakhpail in his welcome remarks said that the aim and objectives of holding Jirga was to bring the candidates contesting the next general elections and their voters face to face to discuss the state of education in their respective constituencies. He also shed light on challenges in education sector, lack of facilities in schools including professional trainings for teachers and existence of ghost schools in the area.
He said according to the district education rankings, Loralai stands at 147th in term of school infrastructure out of the 155 ranked districts in the country, whereas its rank is 26th out of the 32 districts of Balochistan.
He maintained that 89% of all the schools in the district are primary, while 11% are middle and high. The district has a single higher secondary school, where the classes are yet to be started.
He further said that 72% of all the schools in the district are for boys, while 28% of schools are for girls. There are 26 high schools in the district, 9 are for girls and 17 schools for boys. Even in this era of science and technology, no state-run school has science lab in the entire district. He lamented. Senior educationist and Ex-divisional Director Abdul Ghaffar Kudezai complained that the government-run schools lack facilities. Despite having the ministry of Education the nationalist party in coalition government failed to improve the standard of education in the district. There are not enough secondary schools to cater the influx of students that leads to dropouts and declining in enrollment.
“The issue of ghost schools, lack of facilities at schools and political interference contribute to the poor state of education in the district, “ adding political interference in education can be determined by the fact that ten District Education Officers have been transferred from the district during the last five years. Moreover around 300 teaching vacancies have been lying vacant in Loralai, he revealed.“Zangiwala, Oryagi, Mekhtar and Pathankot are the worst affected areas. In Sur Ghwand no middle school exists, forcing students to quit studies after completing primary education. In the same area a single-room primary school has 150 students due to non-availability of schools in the area. Teachers posted in Mekhtar have attached their services in the city schools taking advantage of political and tribal affiliation. He maintained.
Kudezai said construction of political-based schools could not facilitate the students in many areas. Majority of the schools are now in a dilapidated condition due to negligence and substandard materials. He explained.
PPP candidate for NA-258 and PB-4 Surbiland Jogezai, PTI candidate Qurban Gharsheen, Ind candidate chairman district council Shams Hamzazai, JI candidate Abdul Kareem, JUI Molavi Abdul Khaliq and candidate Naqeeb Kakar criticized the government for what they called its apathy towards the poor state of education.
They made promises of revolutionary steps. They emphasized the importance of unity among political parties to achieve the goal of education reforms and improve quality of education in Loralai.