بلوچستان:’34 فیصد بچے سکول نہیں جاتے
Please read the analysis of Baloch Human Rights councils admins on this report:
The state of education in Balochistan(1)
" 34.1 % of pupils in Balochistan do not attend School"
(Analysis by the BHRC admin)
The above figure was revealed in a seminar held in Quetta on February 7th. This and many other figures were obtained as a result of a survey conducted jointly by an NGO called "Education and Consciousness in Balochistan" and The Department of Education. The survey reportedly gathered data from 56,375 pupils aged between 3 and 16 years.
The highlights of the survey are as follows:
- "34.1% of pupils in Balochistan do not attend school. Of these 21% are reported to be girls and 13% of them are boys." The survey does not give any reasons for their non-attendance. It fails to highlight the fact that conditions for children are not normal in Balochistan. Pakistani military is conducting a genocidal war in all the districts of Balochistan. Even the schools have not been spared. The authorities close the schools without any prior warning. There have been many cases of army and intelligence agencies raiding schools and rounding up pupils. In these extraordinary circumstances it is small wonder that the numbers are not higher than actually reported.
- In this advanced age of computer technology "only 6.9 % of all state high schools have the facility of a computer lab." However, the report fails to say how many of these labs are actually functional. The fact is most of these labs endemically lack either specialized staff or equipment or both.
- "Only 3 out of 8 pupils, who start primary education, make it to grade 10." The rest drop out. Again the report fails to give any reasons. The reasons are, without a shadow of a doubt, socio-economic as well as political and geographic. In most townlets and bigger villages there is usually only one primary and if they are lucky only one middle school. Once the children finish from these schools, that becomes the end of the line for them because the next higher school could be located in a town between 30 to 100 miles away. Those parents who have the means as well as relatives in the nearest town send their children to stay with them and attend a middle or high school, whichever happens to be available in the town. The rest of them unfortunately have no option but to drop out. Another reason for drop outs is the poor quality of the teaching staff and their attitude. Pupils are quite often bullied by them and suffer from chronic stress, as a consequence of which many of them leave school early. There are no mechanisms in place to investigate the causes and correct the situation.
- The survey shows that "84.5% of the children of preschool age do not get any nursery education." Reason? There are no state-run nursery schools in Balochistan. Those who do attend, go to private nurseries which are beyond the means of the ordinary people.
- "84.5% of the grade 3 pupils are not able to write a single sentence in either Urdu or their own mother tongue." This is rich coming from a government which refuses to recognize Balochi as a medium of instruction. If you do not teach a child in his/her mother tongue how can you expect them to write anything at all in their own language? As far as Urdu is concerned it is totally a foreign language to Baloch children which they do not understand at all. They feel coerced to learn Urdu. As a result they suffer from permanent stress. Besides, most Urdu teachers are either not qualified enough or lack specialized training to deal with pupils who do not understand a word of Urdu or English. Mother tongue education is recognized the world over and strongly recommended by the United Nations but the Pakistan ruling elite takes exceptional pride in its colonial attitudes and refuse to listen to commonsense. As a consequence the Baloch children are the ones who pay the price and suffer.
- "64 % of the grade 5 pupils were found to be unable to read the text books designed for grade 2." Again the report fails to find out the causes behind it. Because these books are in Urdu most pupils don't understand them. Those who do they only understand bits of them. Besides, the teaching methods applied by teachers are so primitive that instead of motivating the pupils they actually discourage them to the point of total frustration. As a result they learn lessons by rote. Obviously anything learnt by rote is soon forgotten.
- "68.1 % of the pupils in grade 5, 49.5 % in grade 6 and 40.9 % in grade 7 cannot read English sentences from the grade 2 text books!" As was mentioned in the case of Urdu, the caliber of the English teachers is not any better than that of Urdu teachers. In most cases, however, the same teachers, with questionable levels of competence, are responsible for teaching in both the languages.
- "41.6 % of the high schools in Balochistan have libraries." What a strange way of putting forward a fact! They should instead have said that 58.4 % of the high schools do not have any libraries. The report does not throw light whether these libraries have sufficient stock of books on various subjects and whether they are properly maintained and truly functional.
- The dearth of science labs in colleges and high schools is one of the most serious problems facing the education system in Balochistan. But the report is mysteriously silent about it. Apart from one or two colleges, none of the high schools have any science labs. The one or two colleges that boast to have science labs are in fact an oddity. However, these are so utterly ill-equipped and neglected that they can hardly be called proper labs. The dearth of science labs reflects a deliberate policy by the Pakistan government to deny the Baloch students to have access to a descent science education.