Growing terrorism, a worrying law and order situation, a lack of vision, poor management, poverty and the absence of infrastructure have been cited by Baloch professionals and specialists as the fundamental reasons for the ever declining state of education in Balochistan.
Some of them are of the view that financial corruption on the part of elected representatives in the past has also played a key role in the destruction of education and educational institutions in the province. It is most astonishing to note that a province where education infrastructure has systematically declined over the past few decades lacks a full-fledged minister for its education department. And it doesn’t end here: none of the four parties of the ruling alliance pressed for a control of this neglected department. On the contrary, all provincial leaders were busy scrambling to grasp the reins of ‘lucrative’ departments such as irrigation, food, planning and development and mines and minerals.
An adviser to the chief minister for education, Sardar Raza Muhammad Barrech, who tends to the province’s education department, claimed that his government had allocated 24 per cent of the total budget for education. “Despite that, more than one million children do not attend schools”.
Referring to the deficit of the required management, Anwarul Haq Kakar, a senior leader of PML-N from Quetta is of the view that proper management is much more essential to restore educational institutions than constantly trying to save the day by throwing money for the cause. “Unfortunately, our province lacks the required management,” he said. The elimination of dishonest practices and a commitment to quality is also a basic requirement to breathe fresh life into moribund educational institutions. Reports from the province have revealed that cheating at gunpoint has become the means to pass key examinations in educational institutions such as medical, engineering colleges and universities.
Today, the students of Balochistan are bearing the brunt of a leader’s negligence. In a province where the pursuit of peace is in the doldrums, denying the need for quality education probably needs a special kind of blindness. Apart from the transparent allocation of necessary funds, the province needs the expertise of economic and public policy specialists who can chalk out reforms.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2014.