Internally Displaced Persons and the Education Crisis: The case of Pakistan

Catastrophes and emergencies force people to find safe haven in other places. In the context of internal displacement, the major cause is conflict; be it religious, ethnic, or national. It is not suprising, then, to observe the psychological problems such people are victim to, such as displacement trauma, impacts of broken social networks, impacts of social discrimination, post-traumatic stress disorder etc. According to most studies, majority of those people displaced are school-going children.

As a consequence of Taliban insurgency, especially, there have been around 600,000 + internally displaced persons in North Waziristan, of which more than half are children of school-going age. The increasing influence and control of the Taliban has consistently lead to displacement of people. That, coupled with militant intervention has proliferated mental and physical hardships for such individuals, who find sanctuary elsewhere in Pakistan . Despite domestic and foreign funding, the conditions in refugee camps remain poor. With the low provision of basic necessities such as food, clothes, and shelter, education remains a dream to all the children who battle with psychological problems, and crave some semblance of normalcy. Even those schools that have temporarily been established have staffing and infrastructural issues, since building actually built for the purpose of schooling are used as shelters and anything but for the purpose of providing education.

It is crucial that the government focuses on the rehabilitation of such students, with the first step being the prioritization of education in the states' annual budget. After all, these people belong to Pakistan, so it is necessary to bring their literacy rate at the same level as the rest of the country, because higher averages indicated through the rest of the population would be a false depiction of how well Pakistan is doing, and its seriousness towards education.

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