QUETTA: A staggering 75 per cent of girls aged between 5 and 16 are out of school compared to 65% boys within the same age bracket in Balochistan, according to non-governmental organisation Alif Ailan.
The figures are all the more disappointing because the size of the education budget has been increased this year. Girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in Balochistan. Moreover, only 25% females have ever been to schools compared to 60% males.
These startling figures were disclosed by Alif Ailan during a seminar held on Sunday to review the Balochistan education budget for FY2016-17. Adviser to the Balochistan Chief Minister on Information Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareech, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Raheela Hameed Durrani, MPAs and civil society members attended the seminar.
According to the report, the government of Balochistan has allocated almost 17% of the total provincial budget outlay or Rs49.11 billion for education in the budget for FY2016-17, representing an increase of 1% from last year’s allocation of Rs48.38 billion.
Speaking on the occasion, Sardar Bareech said if we continue with the same budget, then we will never overcome the education crisis even in the next 50 years. The Balochistan government has enforced Article 25-A of the Constitution by declaring an education emergency.
The adviser said: “To improve quality of education we require some drastic measures. Lack of learning assessment at the primary and middle levels affect learning outcomes of children in schools. It is equally vital to invest in teachers’ training programme, especially in mathematics and science subjects.”
He told participants of the seminar that every year 130,000 students get enrolled in schools but only 61,000 appear in matriculation examinations out which only 30,000 are able to pass the examinations, adding the number of university pass-outs is 3,000.
“One reason for the education crisis in Balochistan is the absence of active participation of the private sector. If we want to sort out the issues afflicting the education sector in the province then we should ensure the participation of this sector,” Bareech said.
Balochistan Assembly Speaker Raheela Hameed Durrani said we need to have a master plan to know our goals for the next 50 years. “Think tanks should be established to improve the education sector of Balochistan,” Durrani added.
An analysis of the 2014 matriculation results carried out by Alif Ailaan and the Society for Community Strengthening and Promotion of Education, Balochistan (SCSPEB) showed that almost 50% students scored a ‘C’ or below. Almost 71% students were from government schools. Their share in obtaining ‘A’ grades, however, was only 17.3%.
Balochistan ranks lowest in education, as none of the districts in the province lies in the highest quality of district education rankings. Of the 32 districts in Balochistan, 23 districts have an education score of less than 50%.
According to a report released by the Academy for Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM), a federal government institution, more than 1.8 million children are out of school in Balochistan.
There are 13,279 government schools in Balochistan. Of these 84% are primary schools with only 16% schools offering middle and higher education to students. Almost 54% of the total primary schools operate with only one teacher. Almost 26% government schools in Balochistan function with only one classroom. And across Balochistan, the condition of 83% of government primary schools buildings is ‘unsatisfactory’.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2016.