‘90% of girls in rural Balochistan remain unschooled’

Educationist Fazila Aliani says schools are non-existent in Baloch areas of the province.

Qaiser Butt November 24, 2011


Around 90% of girls in rural Balochistan are deprived of schooling, said rights activist, educationist and veteran politician Fazila Aliani.

A former member of the Public Service Commission, Aliani said that the insurgency is the key reason, while a lack of necessary funds, absence of a well-defined education policy, lack of girls’ schools, acute shortage of teaching staff, and poverty are other factors which contribute to the backwardness in her province.

But Aliani, who has been struggling for women’s rights for around 40 years, is still optimistic about change in the “poor and pathetic state of affairs of Balochistan’s girls.”

Speaking to The Express Tribune, she said that except for provincial capital Quetta, educational institutions are non-existent in Baloch-dominated areas of the province. “You will not find any school from Mastung to Gwadar.”

Most neglected parts of the province where Baloch girls are not educated are Buleda (Makran), Kharan , Bolan and Marri and Bugti tribal areas.

“There are government-run primary schools in other parts of the province, but high schools have not been established so far. A primary level school that was established in the remote area of district Khuzdar at NAAL in 1975-76 is still not upgraded by the provincial government, despite repeated demands by the people.”

Bureaucratic hurdles and financial corruption are also other major factors that have destroyed the future of thousands of girls, Aliani said. “Many religious schools established in mosques and madrassas have filled the vacuum of schools, but such religious schools are only imparting religious education.”

Aliani is also running a high school for underprivileged girls in Quetta. She does not agree with the notion that tribal sardars and nawabs are opposed to the establishment of educational institutions in Balochistan.

Some foreign countries are interested in helping build schools in the province, but their experts and diplomats are not being allowed by Islam­abad to visit Balochistan due to security concerns. “I was told by the ambassador of Norway that his country was interested to help the education sector in Balochistan, but authorities had denied him permission citing security problems.”

She suggested that the Pakistan Army should expand its education network in the province. Army-run schools are providing better educational facilities in the most backward tribal areas of Marri, but the military should also set up schools in other parts of the province where non-Baloch teaching staff is not willing to serve.

“It is very unfortunate that most teachers of Punjabi origin are not willing to serve in the Baloch-populated districts of the province after the killing of several teachers by the insurgents during the past many years.”

Edited by Zehra Abid

•  First woman to be elected in the Balochistan Assembly in 1972

•  First woman provincial minister in Balochistan for Health, Education and Social Welfare in 1976

•  Formed a women’s organisation by the name of Al-Nisa Women’s Rights Association

•  Took part in the local body polls and was elected councillor in 1979

Source: www.unicef.org

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2011.


mahmood anwar | 11 years ago | Reply

I visited Gwadar & its schools, its hospitals.

Its pretty awful, goats grazing in the bldg titled Girls High School.

I've befriended THE ONLY college graduate from the whole city of Gwadar. He is son of a prominent Baloch doctor & hospital administrator. I've been in touch with him for ayear and we've started a foundation call Learning for life, to provide free education and some scholarship for eligible kids to goto college.

Wish us luck, we're working on a website.

Azam Siddiqui | 11 years ago | Reply

The strength of any nation depends on the quality of manpower/womanpower.We should have a permanent teacher education commission in Balochistan.We should open a few teachers training colleges in Balochistan with the most modern training.All teachers should be qualified to teach languages.There should be Specialist teachers to teach health and Social Sciences.Likewise there should be Specialist teachers for Math and Science.We will also need Special Education teachers.It shall be responsibility of the teacher education commision to keep improving the teacher education programmes on continuous basis..To meet the current shortage of teachers boys and girls who promise to upgrade their teaching skills on continuous basis should hired as assistant teachers.Before starting there careers they have to undergo teacher taining for at least one semester .Other could take for summer session and one semester.They will complete their professional teaching degree through correspondence,eveningcourses or regular classes.The government shall pay them stipends during their training.Girls and Science Teachers should also be paid a bonus.All educaters who have left Balochistan because of present disturbed conditions in the province should be called back and compensated,to heal wounds.There should also be a strong in-service education programme for the teaching force. The doors of teacher education should also be opened for qualified ULEMA if they are prepared to take teacher education courses.There could also be an educational provincial tax to lay a firm foundation of education at the elementry level.

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