The Baloch students are living hands to mouth even in their own homeland. Getting an education has yet remained a far cry for them; which is why many children miss out on education in Balochistan. More than half of the school-going children are still out of schools in the province. However, dropping out of children from school is still a hurdle to the underprivileged and under-developed province of Balochistan. Though the proportion of children out-of-school is whopping in the province, it is assessed that 59pc – approximately 2 out of every 3 children – are deprived of basic education.
Given that, Balochistan is the worst performing province with regard to receiving quality education. Although getting an education is a constitutional right of every citizen of Pakistan as the Article 25A of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan ensures and safeguards the right to education, but receiving an education in the province is next to zero. In the province, government schools are functioning despite infrastructural edges a great number of schools with a single class-teacher uncover an austere picture when visited.
In the province, the enrolled children are a few in number and almost very few of them are provided with outdated syllabus. They are yet deprived of basic facilities like building walls, potable water, teachers, stationary and other fundamental instruments. Fresh and latest knowledge with updated syllabus has never been focused in the province, therefore, education crisis is a huge slip on the education system of Balochistan.
Similarly, lack of educational institutions and severe poverty have stepped ahead as being the very grave problems in getting various other students to leave their education. Education is a right — as protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child along with the Article 25A of Pakistan. Ensuring and imparting quality education must be in the top priorities as it is interweaved with harmony and prosperity.
The state of education in Balochistan is very bleak and portraying a scale of challenge. There may be reduction of dropouts when schooling is accessible for all and budgetary funds allocated towards education are utilized purposefully and properly. As the education emergency is dangerous that emerges and gives birth to way to an unlettered adulthood which is not only deleterious for an individual but for the society as a whole. Divulging the essence of education to every single citizen drives illiterates out from the clouds of darkness and sprinkles the surroundings with knowledge and peace. The provincial government admonished parents to make assure that any children may not stay out of school in the province. HEC Chairman has himself said, “Our education system can produce neither good students nor good citizens.”
Balochistan is confronting a stern challenge to ensure all children into schools. At the same time, the education emergency in Balochistan is not only about school enrollment. It is thought-provoking that manifold children attending school are unable to read a sentence in any language or do basic mathematics even in secondary school in the province. The need for hour is that there must be strong efforts for provision of education to dropouts of marginalized and poor families. Around 19% of children across the country remained out of school with most coming from underprivileged backgrounds, revealed The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021. Poverty and rampant drug abuse have forced many children to leave school. Yet officials and society in general seem least bothered about the long-term consequences this will have on Balochistan.
The recent notification and promises of government to establish 103 new primary schools and 60 high schools along with upgrading middle schools to higher secondary schools with 831 new posts of teachers is noteworthy, but building schools does not improve quality of education and bring dropouts into school until and unless the government improves the task of provision of compulsory education to all children between the age 5 to 16.
As a solution, there must be greater accountability in the education sector and emphasis on revamping and restructuring the school system, especially in rural areas. The education crisis in Balochistan would not come to an end until and unless a basic education is accessible for all. The government had better shown its commitment to tackle the problem of ghost teachers and absenteeism of teachers by applying biometric system and ensure that all children are provided with free textbooks and uniforms besides basic education.