Known for its hospitality, Pakistan is home to 1.44 million registered Afghan refugees and 0.6 million unregistered refugees. Out of these Afghan refugees, 52% are children and 80% are not enrolled in the schools. Pakistan, with the help of UNHCR, has ensured educational facilities for these refugees in many remote villages however the stability is far from now.
Bottlenecks in the Refugee Education:
Pakistan lacks a legal framework of protecting refugees, therefore, no strong policies are in place to cater to the huge number of Afghani people.
Multiple barriers- such as transportation costs, outdated teaching practices, low educational budget, travel and tuition costs are the hindrance in the Afghan refugees education.
The pandemic caused shut down of many physical institutes and with no online facilities in the remote areas - many children were forced out of education towards daily wage labor.
Limited access for girls' education is another hindrance. Only 35% of the Afghan refugee girls are enrolled in school.
How and Who can solve the problem:
Whilst Pakistan fights the economical war and the takeover of Taliban in Afghanistan - the education of refugees is more complex than ever. Pakistan Civil Society has identified numerous tangible steps to cater to the problem.
The remedies include construction of girls’ schools, solving transport problems for schools, putting efforts in teacher training, and, making reintegration programs for students that may have been compelled to drop out of school. These steps won’t end all existing challenges, but they will help in greater future enrollment and student retention.
However, the unstable Government of Pakistan cannot solve the problem alone. It needs the assistance of International Community, Donors, and United Nations to work on the solutions. In short, the world needs to step up in the effort of supporting Afghan Refugees in Pakistan.