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Conflict and the state of education in Balochistan

Balochistan is the southwestern province of Pakistan. Despite being the largest and most resource-rich, Balochistan remains the most underdeveloped province of the country. The state of education in the province is rather miserable. Almost 45% of the settlements do not have a school facility. Where there are schools, many lack basic facilities such as clean drinking water, boundary wall, shelter, or toilet facilities. Teachers are often unavailable.

In addition to the lack of resources, development, and mass poverty, one of the major reasons for this disparity in education in the province as compared to the rest of Pakistan is the ongoing conflict in Balochistan. As a result of the conflict, political instability ensues and there is little consideration, time, and resources spent on education and the policy framework.

The militant groups and extremist organizations operating in the province oppose western education and are especially against female education so much so that it has often resulted in violence. One such example was an attack on a van in which female students and teachers were traveling. The incident took place on 14th May 2014, in which unidentified gunmen set the van on fire.

However, the threat to education is not limited to the rebel Baluchi forces alone; state and military action also hinder education. As a result of the conflict, suspicious of the Balouch people, around 8000 citizens- many of whom are said to be students- were either kidnapped by Pakistani security or mysteriously went missing.

The impact of conflict on the education of the people of Balochistan is evident. To improve the state of education in the province, conflict resolution should be a priority on the country's policy agenda.

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Maha Waheed
Maha Waheed
10 dic 2022

Great post

There are many other factors as well that are playing a role in the low education rates; first of all, there is no accountability of teachers placed in school. Teachers that work in the rural area never visit the schools and take salaries. Also, the long distances present in school make it tough to travel, especially for girls, and above all, the community is patriarchal and conservative. This may also play a significant role in putting women on the spot, also how there are very low number of girls-only schools in Balochistan.

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Well said indeed! I remeber that while preparing my education presentation, I came across multiple anecdotes of non-balochi's people in which they shared personal experiences of how the conflict among islamist-groups, militists groups and then ethnic conflict of balochis and nonbalochis has impeded education in balochistan. However, among all of the stated ones, balochi groups attacking non-balochis is the most highlighted one. Balochis' group resentment is towards the unqeual employment opportunities being provided to non-balochis within balochistan and unequal sharing of the resources and minerals. As an reaction of resentment, these balochis attack non-balochis and in educational perspective these balochis attack non-balochis teachers to leave balochistan, and in fear of lives, most of the non-balochi residents have left the rural areas…

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Very well put. Even though education in Balochistan has its barriers, there are certain more barriers that are put when it comes to female education. The communities in Balochistan are largely conservative. Women and girls have limited access to basic education, health and other life resources. This is seconded by the number of girls that drop out of school in grades four and five - a time that marks the beginning of menstruation cycle for most of the girls.

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I agree with your point of view. The government's disregard towards Balochistan is appalling. Balochistan's children and youth have historically had the lowest educational chances and results of any of Pakistan's four provinces. This condition may be linked to a variety of issues, including Balochistan's severe poverty, pervasive corruption, bad administration, and gender-based discrimination, all of which have been compounded by the province's recurrent violence over many decades. Recent ethnic and sectarian violence, including assaults on teachers and schools, has exacerbated an already failing educational system.

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Extremely important topic of discussion!

Balochistan’s share in the Public Sector Development Programme has declined to 14 percent in 2018-19. UNICEF endorses that 60 to 70 percent children in Balochistan are out of school. Especially, 78 percent of girls of school-going age and 67 percent of boys are out of school. This is mainly due to the long distances between the school and their homes. It's imperative to observe that especially with girls. there are no separate schools for them and we can see where they lie on the priority list. It is believed that a majority of parents in the area think that girls do not need education because they will be married off.

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