Education in Balochistan
One of the biggest problems of the region of Balochistan is Education. The region faces serious challenges of low literacy and enrolments, high level of dropouts from the schooling system particularly at primary level, high repetition rates, low completion rates, acute regional and gender inequalities, teachers’ absenteeism, closed/dysfunctional schools all leading to unsatisfactory performances.
Supply and demand are perhaps one of the most fundamental concepts of economics and it is the backbone of a market economy. Poverty, illiteracy and cultural practices affect household decisions to send children to school. These factors also impact the ability of the population to demand an appropriate level of service delivery and to undertake school performance accountability.
On the supply side, low investments and weak management and delivery systems have led to dismal results.
School enrolments and attendance is significantly lower as compared to the other provinces in Pakistan. This is sadly very apparent concerning girls. Only 20% women in Balochistan have ever attended school and 13% women have completed primary or above.
In terms of figures, only 1.3 million children have access to schools whereas, more than 3 million children have no access and are out of school.
Access is a serious issue and there are several reasons for this. One of the major reasons is that only about 10,000 settlements, out of the 22,000, have schools available. The issue of distances that children need to travel to get to school is a real challenge.
Of the 12,293 schools in the province, 87% are primary schools; 8% are middle and 5% are high schools. Of the 10,668 primary schools; an overriding number have only one to two room structures having one/two teachers. These are thus multi-grade teaching schools having flimsy infrastructure and almost no budgets except the teacher salary. Hence other than non- availability of schools in about half the settlements, the schools available have bare minimum of resources.
Those Schools and colleges present in the province paint a dire picture for students. The vast majority of schools lack proper facilities with no toilets, lack of classrooms, no boundary walls and very little access to clean drinking water. In fact, 36% of schools are deprived of water altogether whilst 56% of schools have no electricity.
More than 5200 schools in the province are operating with a single teacher and there is a middle school gap of more than 2500 schools. Thousands of children who have no access to education are forced to work and become victims of child abuse.
Girls education statistics are considerably worst especially in the rural areas where girls are forced into labour at a very minor age due to extreme poverty. A study in 2013 showed that 64% of the rural female population did not attend school at all.