Balochistan’s literacy problem  

The education system in Balochistan has been plagued by various challenges since the inception of Pakistan. Recent research reveals a troubling decline in the literacy rate, with a 3% drop recorded in 2013 and 2014 alone. Alarmingly, approximately 70% of girls have dropped out of school, resulting in a female literacy rate of only 25%. Despite increased allocation of education budgets, from 80% to 24%, Balochistan continues to struggle with an inadequate education system and the lowest literacy rate in the country, especially concerning female literacy.

One must address the pressing question: why does Balochistan suffer from such a dire education situation, even with the declaration of an education emergency and the establishment of new primary and secondary schools and colleges? While factors such as government efforts, a lack of educational institutions, and poverty do contribute to the backwardness of the province, the root cause lies in the patriarchal and parochial tribal systems.

Tribal structures, norms, and values staunchly oppose coeducation and, in some cases, even female education. Those who claim otherwise should explain why the female literacy rate remains lower than the male literacy rate. Additionally, why do individuals who migrate from tribal areas to cities permit their female family members to pursue education? The answer lies in the influence of the surrounding environment and social structure. It is often said, “Do in Rome as Romans do.” Similarly, if people from urban areas were to migrate to tribal societies, would they send their female members to receive an education? The answer is likely no, as the structure and environment discourage such opportunities. Moreover, there is a lack of adequate arrangements for female education in these areas.

To address the problem, it is crucial to understand its cause. Without comprehending the root issues, attempting to solve the problem would be akin to putting the cart before the horse. As we discuss the challenges faced by the education system in Balochistan, it becomes evident that tribalism and the associated constraints play a significant role. Only by recognising and addressing these deep-seated issues can we hope to improve the education system and empower the people of Balochistan.



ePaper - Nawaiwaqt