Education terms to be a fundamental right for every citizen across Pakistan. Article 25A tells us that every child aging 6 to 15 should get free and compulsory education. However, Balochistan, despite being the largest province of Pakistan by covering 44% of the state’s territory and a population of 12.34 million, is accumlatively afflicting on worse conditions in every regard, particularly education.
In Balochistan, the realm of education is coming towards egregious direction as due to lack of requisite attention by the politicians. During election campaigns, our ‘so called’ leaders promise to bridge the gaps of education in every possible mean, but are lost once elections are done.
The pace of out of school children has been reportedly increasing in this region. According to UNICEF Pakistan, 72 per cent children of Balochistan are out of schools including 67% males and 78% females. One wonders, Balochistan adds so much to the state’s purse with all its natural resources, doesn’t it deserve a good bit of education?
Impoverishment is one such reason which impedes on the way of progressing the education system in Balochistan. According to sources, the current poverty ratio of Balochistan has cumulated to 68% from 40% amidst corona virus pandemic. It clearly shows how hard the residents of Balochistan are managing their two times of food, affording an extra burden of education is a far cry for them.
Saeed from Zamuran is among the out of school children I encountered with. Because his town lacks a high school and he could not afford to turn to another city to continue his education, he quitted. “Had there been a high school and college in my town, I might had been a going-to-school child.”
A region as Zamuran [Buleda] with an area of 661 m (2,169 ft) and a thick population of 39,023 consisting of more than ten separate small towns, one finds very less number of higher institutions.
“Our ‘culture’ does not allow us to move to schools,” vociferates the 16-year old Ayesha from Turbat. “I sometimes think if these cultural norms are solely made for few families because many other girls in our own society go to school regularly.”
Amir Baloch, belonging to Khairabad [somewhat 45 kilometers away from Turbat city], is one brilliant student from his village but he cannot afford to go to school. He works as a labour and feeds his family. “I was ambitious for becoming a lawyer and pursue my career in the legal life, but God had diverse plannings for me.” He looks at the sky and smiles brokenly.
In short, Balochistan is providing Pakistan with abundance of benefits with its natural resources and sea water. Sadly, the federal government gives the least attention to this part. To eradicate the sense of belonging for the people of Balochistan, the federal and provincial governments need to bring about changes in every sector of the province mainly education.