Rural Balochistan Urgently Needs Educational Reforms

Rural Balochistan Urgently Needs Educational Reforms
Balochistan is known as the backbone of Pakistan and has made a significant contribution to the country’s economy through the natural resources that it owns abundantly. However, it is quite unfortunate that despite being the largest and most resourceful province, Balochistan is also considered the poorest unit among the four provinces of Pakistan.

However, it must be admitted that indigenous demagogue leaders have a massive share in the plight of Balochistan. In addition, Balochistan has a large youth populace, with nearly 65% of its total population below the age of thirty. The Baloch politicians’ contaminated performance has risked the Baloch’s dignity and identity.

Many anti-Baloch formulas have been applied since the creation of Pakistan. Efforts have been made to change the Baloch’s socio-economic norms. Due to this, the nation has lost its grip on its langue. The Baloch have no command of the other dialects of the Balochi langue. The man living in the Makran belt cannot speak in Marri and Bugti dialects; vis-a-vis these areas, Baloch cannot speak Mekrani parlance.

A standard is to be promulgated in Balochi to resolve this discussed obstacle and gap of communication. All Baloch should use and apply in their respective regions the devised standard which will help each other understand their accent comfortably.

Balochi academics, linguistics, and people who love their language can fill this basic need. However, unfortunately, they failed, although they are getting huge funds from the provincial government. Unfortunately, as a nation, we failed and continue disagreeing on the standardisation of our language.

Similarly, the residents of Sarwan cannot speak Balochi. Though the Baloch of all areas has the same dress code, differences can be observed regarding languages. It is a significant factor in dividing the nation into parts.

According to UNESCO, 7,000 languages are being spoken worldwide presently, and some 3,000 languages will die in the future. Unfortunately, the Balochi language is one of them. The language is gradually losing its worth in some regions; Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran and Afghanistan. There is no private institution where the language is to be taught—in the government institutions the language should be given more importance as it deserves. The language has no representation in mainstream media like newspapers, magazines or TV channels.

Conversely, if we compare it to other provinces of Pakistan where their languages are being taught, a question arises: why is the Balochi language not part of the syllabus in Balochistan’s schools, colleges, and universities?

Moreover, as we consider today, Pashto, Sindhi and Punjabi children can write and read their languages, but unluckily, Baloch youngsters disregard reading, writing and learning their language. If they do, they have no idea where they come from, what is their history, and their cultural heritage.

Extraordinarily, the second most significant reform in Balochistan's educational system comes with female literacy which is dreadfully low when compared to the other three provinces of the country.

According to the estimates, the female literacy rate in Punjab is 70.73%, which is the highest among the country’s provinces.

Unfortunately, despite Balochistan being the largest province in the country, its female literacy rate remains at a meagre 2%. This is a grave concern for the entire nation, as it deprives the women of Balochistan from quality education and keeps them from reaping the benefits of development and prosperity in the country.

This should serve as a wake-up call for the squabbling politicians and government officials of Balochistan, who have failed to provide adequate education to our sisters. It is imperative that they establish more educational institutions for females, equipped with all necessary facilities, to empower them with education and help them build a bright future for themselves and the society at large.

Another necessary reform for the Balochistan education system is to ensure that every child – especially girls – is sent to school to contribute to the country's future. By comparison, in Punjab, which has a total child population of 22 million between the ages of 5 to 16 years, only 15% are out of school, and most of them are girls. In contrast, out of Balochistan's total child population of 2.8 million, a staggering 1.9 million are out of school, and are being deprived of basic human needs.

While it is often said that education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world, I must disagree that it should be limited to certain nations. The Baloch nation, for example, is currently lacking even the most basic necessities in their daily lives, and access to education could greatly improve their situation.

When comparing educational institutions across different provinces, Balochistan unfortunately comes last on the list. Punjab, on the other hand, has 247 functional colleges, each fully equipped with necessary facilities. It also boasts 29 universities, producing knowledgeable graduates each year. Similarly, Sindh has a great number of universities, with 27 playing an essential role in graduating students with impressive degrees annually.

In KP, there are 24 beautiful universities, each fully equipped with libraries, networks, and other necessary amenities to ensure that students never face any problems. Unfortunately, in Balochistan, protests occur frequently over critical issues, and the eight universities there are without basic facilities. Furthermore, out of the 142 colleges in Balochistan, many are insignificant and lack essential resources.

Half of Balochistan's population lives in poverty, and every year the fee structure for educational institutions in the province increases rapidly. Even those who manage to graduate from Balochistan's universities are often left jobless. It is crucial for the Balochistan government to take meaningful steps towards creating job opportunities for those with degrees, particularly as the number of individuals without degrees in the province continues to rise.

In order for a country to develop through education, it is crucial to have an abundance of libraries for students to comfortably study in. As Bhagat Singh once said, "If you want to destroy a country, first destroy its libraries." This highlights the importance of libraries in aiding a nation's development.

Unfortunately, Balochistan lacks adequate libraries for its students. The universities, colleges, and schools in Balochistan have no libraries available for studying, which is a shameful reflection on the government of Balochistan. Furthermore, teachers in Balochistan often have delays in taking their classes, and many are not fulfilling their duties honestly. Balochistan is home to many ghost teachers who are frequently absent from their classrooms, resulting in a lack of great students from the region.

In comparison, Punjab has around 400,000 active teachers who are contributing to the nation's development. KP has 119,000 teachers. They are teaching around 3.9 million students. Similarly, Sindh has a great number of teachers, numbering some 147,945, who are dedicating their energy to the young generation.

The Balochistan government must take action against teachers who are not fulfilling their duties honestly, and teachers must take their roles seriously to provide better education to the students. By doing so, Balochistan can reform its education system and produce a brighter future for the province.

Finally, in order to improve education in Balochistan, it is essential for the politicians and government of Balochistan to implement necessary reforms for the betterment of the nation. Only through these reforms can the education system of Balochistan be brought to par with that of other provinces.