Balochistan: Educational Woes

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Naseebullah Achakzai
Balochistan has the lowest socio-economic indicators in the country including educational decline. The province has been facing a serious and pathetic situation of educational decline. From school side to colleges and University level, the posture of education is dismal. The enrolment ratio from grade 5 to 16 is only 72 per cent. Low literacy rate, shortage of teaching staff and buildings, lack of water, boundary wall and toilet facilities, out of school children, low enrolment ratio, drop out and the dearth of institutional capacity building are grave issues. Further, maladministration on the part of government, poverty, ghost schools and staff, nepotism etc. are the curses which can be held responsible for the gloomy state of affairs of education. If we ( the people of Balochistan) want development, prosperity, progress and happiness, then a robust education should be first priority. The doleful and harsh reality is that there is no positive indicator of primary, secondary or higher level schools in terms of quality education in the province. The literacy rate is rueful. It is lowest in all province and stands only 54.3 per cent. According to statistical data of Balochistan education department 2017_18, in the province, 14 percent of the schools are without shelter. 47% of the schools have no drinking of Water, while 29 % of the total Schools are without Toilets. Moreover, 79 per cent of the Schools have no electricity facility and computer lab is available only in 1.7 per cent of Schools. The dismal situation is further devastating regarding lack of teaching Staff. According to the same report the Students-Teacher ratio is 19.2 per cent. Further, 2.3 million children are out of school while the survival ratio to grade 5 is only 41 percent. In addition, only 28 percent of Teaching Staff has Master degree while 38 percent are Graduate. Sadly, the provision of degrees of B.Ed. and M.Ed. have become a golden bird for many colleges and Universities. Without proper education, thousands of degrees are distributed to the student without taking classes. Teachers lack basic training. The role of government Institution like PITE and Academy for College lecturer are just on the papers. The dearth of educational institutions is another issue. Balochistan which is 44 per cent of the total area of Pakistan, the population in rural areas live in distant areas. According to Alaf Elan survey, one primary School is located after every 30 KMs, while a Middle school is located at 260 KMs and a High schools is located at 360 KMs. Apart from this, 1800 Schools are dysfunctional with 5000 ghost teaching staff. There are 6000 Schools which is run by a single teacher. Most of the Teachers are non- qualified. According to Unicef only 32 per cent of the teachers have command on Math while only 31 per cent have command on English. Observing the dismal scenario the USAID and UNICEF opined that the province has no primary framework which explicitly focused on Teachers performance development.  Despite the school section, the education quality in colleges and Universities is dreary too. How can Only 65 intermediate, 34 graduate, 4 residential and 5 Cadet Colleges and 9 Universities fulfil the needs of higher education of 12.3 Million people. 60% of the Students do not quench the thirst of knowledge after Matric. Moreover, Nepotism has  been a serious threat to college education. The affluent lecturers attach themselves to the directorate of colleges in the capital and do not fulfil their duties in their respected colleges. Resultantly the sufferers are the students. Such kind of attachment must be stopped. The Government should show responsibility and should post lecturers in their respected Colleges so that to teach the students as their posts are teaching ones. As far as higher education is concerned, the situation is bleak too in the Universities. Lack of Universities has stopped the students from getting higher education. How would it be possible for the people of far- flung areas of Balochistan like Gwadar, Awaran, Punjgor, Sherani etc. to acquire education in the capital, in the presence of sever poverty where 71 per cent of the population is below poverty line. Ample number of students are deprived of getting admission in Master and M.Phil or Ph.D. courses due to burden of students On the Universities. Resultantly, very few Students take admission in private Universities, especially, in a private University of Quetta where the university charge 3 to 5 lac Rupees for M.PHIL and Ph.D. program. Private institutions particularly the schools have become a Mafia and exploiter in the province. There are around 2800 private Schools, who take a sky-high fee from the students. Despite the decision of the Supreme court of Pakistan, these exploiters have been taking full fee during winter vacation and Corona crisis. The teaching staff of myriad of schools is undereducated and poorly skilled. They are hired on fewer salary, many of whom are Matric passed. The government has failed to inspect the schools and the eligibility of the staff. They lack proper training and teaching education. This Mafia has been providing a huge blow to this sector. The educational woes in Balochistan demand pragmatic steps to overcome. The most important responsibility is on the shoulders of the government. Brawny decisions are the need of the hour. The government of Balochistan must start vigilant short, medium and long term policies. Only viable good governance followed by meritocracy and saying no to favouritism and nepotism can save the downfall of education in the province.

(-The writer is a M.Phil Political Science.)

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