It is but a pipedream that the education emergency, declared by the Balochistan chief minister, will work for the benefit of the province. Who will take up this challenge? Which departments will act under the emergency? And what special measures will be taken?
Since the announcement was made on January 4, no conclusive modus operandi has been put forth by the provincial government to check the almost-decaying education structure. Indeed, the law of this land mandates education for all. The rulers of this province are legally responsible to educate all children who live here. But this law is being flouted.
The Balochistan chief minister’s announcement reminded me of the condition of closed schools in Dera Bugti. Making closed schools operational is the litmus test for the new provincial government.
I never realised how deprived Dera Bugti, and pretty much the rest of Balochistan, was of a stable educational structure till I met students and teachers of this area. Several schools were shut down due to security and economic reasons, and the students who were enrolled there were wandering aimlessly — wasting their time on the streets. Students also informed me that some separatists had warned them against attending schools. In case they ignore the warning, they would face dire consequences.
One wonders how Balochistan’s chief minister will restore the trust of teachers and students when even the British Council has refused to hold O-level exams in the capital of this troubled province. I hope he will empower the province to raise its education standards.
In Jaffarabad, I met an old friend of Nawab Akbar Bugti, who said that the education system of this province has been virtually destroyed in the rural areas. Counting the reasons, he said only the rich were able to send their children to safer cities of other provinces for better education.
One wonders if educational reforms in isolation will improve the fate of students in Balochistan. There is a need to combine these education reforms with increased security measures.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2014.