‘90% of girls in rural Balochistan remain unschooled’

Published: November 24, 2011
Educationist Fazila Aliani says schools are non-existent in Baloch areas of the province.

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

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

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.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 24, 2011 - 9:57AM

    Say thanks to local sardars who dont let boys go to school let alone girls.
    not to forget our central and provincial government’s negligence


  • Salah Baloch
    Nov 24, 2011 - 10:17AM

    @Hu Jintao , i think you need to read the article better she said sardars are not against education ! but you guys cant help it not putting everything on sardars shoulders , when actually those sardars are supported by Pakistani government !


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 24, 2011 - 11:24AM

    @Salah Baloch:
    I admit i should have clarified further. as mentioned in the article,


    Buleda (Makran), Kharan , Bolan and
    Marri and Bugti tribal areas.

    are the areas where girls education is non-existant. i think its due to local customs and tradtions. you say that sardars are not against it. then it narrows it down to two reasons

    Local and Federal government incompetence and negligence on both fronts i.e. educational and security
    Foreign militants ( Iranians,Afghans, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and indian intelligence) who are involved in terrorism and other violent activites and cannot see Balochistan prosper. these very same groups are responsible for current security situation

    unless we get rid of internal corruption and foreign elements, we may not proceed at the pace we want to


  • Saqib
    Nov 24, 2011 - 11:30AM

    Need MQM in Balochistan ..


  • Nov 24, 2011 - 11:45AM

    This is a sickening piece of news. Very painful and dejecting. When will they ever learn. The goverments of today and yesteryears are completely at fault for their weak and docile attitude to feudocrats and the perrenial molvi.

    Let’s hope, if Imran wins, the PTI will transform this illiteracy into literacy. Salams


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:01PM

    Further i would like to add that this situation is not only limited to Balochistan. rural areas in rest of provinces have the same thing going on where the local waderas, choudaries, feudals dont let their population get education so that they dont challenge their authority


  • Lashkar Bugti
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:36PM

    Very nice article. True projection about education scenario in Balochistan.


  • Ayesha Wadood
    Nov 24, 2011 - 3:23PM

    I think this is an exaggerated account of girls schooling in Balochistan. I have been associated with various projects linked with girls education in the province for the past 15 years. The situation has improved. Although we still have very high percentage of girls drop out in the primary schools but 90% is just not the right figure. We have some of the best government schools in districts Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Turbat and Gwadar. In fact the gender statistics are amazingly enlightening in districts Lasbela and Turbat. During the last 15 years I have not seen any rural community or tribal chief opposing girls’ education. All we need is to improve the condition of the schools.


  • Mureed Khan
    Nov 24, 2011 - 5:25PM

    A lot of debate and news which goes around on girls education and gender is aired by people in urban centers to get funding for there so called NGO’s.
    No, Baloch women do not suffer any special discrimination. i am not saying that they enjoy all the rights but this is unfair to say that people of Balochistan are some misogynistic barbarians.
    But sadly, people are demonized, misrepresented and things are blown out of proportion other wise who would get donors purses emptied.That’s how is it world over.


  • I J I P T I
    Nov 24, 2011 - 6:23PM

    Balochistan ? Where is it ?


  • Truth From Pakistan
    Nov 24, 2011 - 7:56PM

    @ Ayesha Wadood, With due respect to your 15 years experience of Education in Baluchistan, can we assume that you are fine with the current state of Girls’ Education there? Even if we believe that 90% may be a bit exaggerated figure, due you think whatever percentage it actually is , is acceptable ? The progress may be going on but to date, the situation is pathetic and has to be given due importance.


  • Ghulam Murtaza
    Nov 25, 2011 - 12:09AM

    This is fabricated … exaggerated…….


  • csmann
    Nov 25, 2011 - 7:15AM

    A brave woman !!!!


  • Aakram ilyas
    Nov 25, 2011 - 7:23PM

    The problem of balochistan has been well defined in this article, which is nothing but only lack of education and the main root cause is only the paki government and it’s policy toward Baloch nation. The fact of today’s ground reality is what we see is the war of independence. The fact is that Pakistan and Balochistan are two different states with different culture, background, and future perspective. Once balochistan is free all headache will vanish ensha Allah.


  • Mohammad
    Nov 27, 2011 - 10:35PM

    This picture doesn’t go with the article. It would have better to run a picture of girls showing they are working rather than they are sitting in the school.



  • Farheen Rizvi
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:25AM

    Please educate your women to educate your future. An educated mom will raise an educated child for the betterment of the community, province and the country.


  • Azam Siddiqui
    Dec 1, 2011 - 12:59AM

    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.


  • mahmood anwar
    Dec 1, 2011 - 5:37AM

    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.


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