Educated women demonstrate a significant role in the development and progress of a nation. Today, nations who have paid tremendous services to women education and empowerment are at the pinnacle of success. But unfortunately, Balochistan, the richest province of Pakistan paints a bleak picture. Although male literacy rate is not satisfactory either but, female education is at its lowest in the province.
Female literacy rate in Balochistan
According to Sanaullah Baloch, a member of Balochistan assembly, “Female literacy rate in Balochistan is lowest in the world”. This is shocking. Despite being owners of unbounded natural resources, the daughters of Balochistan are deprived of even the basic constitutional right to education. It generates few questions as to why Balochistan is lagging substantially behind concerning women education? Is male dominated nature of Baloch society impedes women education, or is it sheer incompetence of the government to provide accessible education opportunities, particularly in far flung areas?
As per a survey, literacy rate among women in Balochistan is deplorable in Pakistan, with only 27 percent of literate women which is the lowest in the whole world.
People who are devoid of rest of the factors often blame Baloch society for its extreme and rigid principles that they are hurdles for female education. In reality, they are ignorant to the factors that contribute to low female education in the Baloch society. Lack of women educational institutions, generally in the whole the province, and particularly in far-flung areas can be said to be one of the the main factors behind a low literacy rate. As I belong to a Baloch society, I know how parents suffer seeing their daughters away from education.
Women hold an imminent status in the Baloch society, therefore for them, dignity and respect is an important concern for Baloch parents. The conviction and enthusiasm of Baloch parents towards education is a quality which shows that they do not oppose female education. Consequently, a shortage of institutions creates problems in the province which can yield negative impacts.
Lack of educational institutions
There are very few education institutions in Balochistan where women can get easy access to education. As per a survey, literacy rate among women in Balochistan is deplorable in Pakistan, with only 27 percent of literate women which is the lowest in the whole world. The province also stands poorly against the literacy rate of Punjab which is 50 per cent. Shortage of women institutions possess challenges for thousands of girls who remain illiterate their whole lives. Usually to access an institution, they have to travel a distant journey to either the provisional capital Quetta or Karachi. For instance, Awaran, one of the highly deprived districts where there are almost no women institutions which may provide education to the distressed females of the district. As there exists no specific data, the number of women who are out of schools are quite high. Almost 80 to 90 per cent of women in Awaran are deprived of education which sheds a negative light on the Baloch society. Therefore, it is absurd to criticize Baloch society without taking these aspects into consideration. Awaran is not the only district that faces this problem but the whole province is suffers from it.
Despite being owners of unbounded natural resources, women in Balochistan are deprived of even the basic constitutional right to education
How can parents send their daughters to a place that is so distant? Where they do not know anybody? As I have already mentioned, women enjoy utmost respect and privilege in Baloch societies and their safety, respect, and dignity occupy a foremost position. However, still there are parents who manage to send their daughters either to Quetta or Karachi to secure their future.
The government should step up
It is the government’s utmost failure to provide easy and accessible education in these Baloch populated areas. Although boys, too, confront numerous challenges in the domain of education, but girls are the ones that are affected the most. Boys can manage to get access to institutions in major cities, but girls, due to various challenges are unable to pursue education. The plight of women educational downfall in the province is unleashing discontent among the Baloch society. but high authorities seem reluctant to address the issue.
It is a humble request to the provisional as well as federal government to establish maximum institutions, particularly in distant areas of Balochistan, so that Baloch women can also education, which is their constitutional right.
The write is based in Awaran, Balochistan and teaches at the Delta language center Quetta. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.