The sorry state of female education in Pakistan”(Kamran Bashir)
The picture of educational state is ugly in Pakistan. Unreachability of education in Pakistan, especially in backward areas is a result of detachment, child labor, dearth of teachers, local leaders, frequent policy changes and fear of losing power. The country has failed to provide good quality, just and satisfactory education to half of its population. Especially the condition of women’s education in Pakistan is more depressed. Both, the state and the society, are equally responsible for the regretful state of women’s education in the country. In KPK and Balochistan women are severely guaranteed by cultural constraints and prejudgments. Women which are the 51% on the country population, have been required to just bear children for their husband and remain within their houses. In Balochistan, female literacy rate stands between 15 to 25%. Pakistan has one of the lowermost literacy rates. More than 40 % of young women have never shown in school. “The condition is especially disappointing in rural areas due to societal and cultural Hindrance. Absence of political willpower and vision, unable and inadequate faculty, unfortunate infrastructure, social and cultural taboos attached with educated women, life threats to school going girls and frequent attacks on the women’s educational institutions in the tribal areas are some of the key factors behind the awful state of females education in Pakistan. If the current situation prevails, it will continue releasing catastrophic human, social, economic and political penalties on the state of Pakistan.
The situation of female education in the tribal areas of the country is poorer because here females do not give the right to get them educated on their own. Tribal women are not only restrained to remain at home, but at the same time are also enforced and rushed both emotionally and physically. Due to this reason, the literacy rate of females in these areas of Pakistan is just as short as 7.2 % of the entire female population.
Lack of political will, vision and obligation towards the application of educational polices is a major factor behind the sorry state of women’s education in the country. None of the consecutive governments have realized the serious penalties of not educating half of the population of the country. During the past sixty seven years of its independent life, Pakistan has had nine national education policies, five five-year plans, one free and compulsory education act, a constitutional amendment ( 18th) and dozens of other schemes, seminars and conferences aimed at improving the women education in the country. But, unfortunately, the state of women education in the motherland remains in a shambles. The reason is obvious: “under-implementation” of education policies. One is justified to say that women education has really made a great progress in Pakistan but on papers only.
USAID/Pakistan, with the assistance of other donors, has increasingly supported education in Pakistan. The organization works to strengthen math and science skills, renovate and rebuild schools and train local teachers. The programs also aim to harmonize Pakistani tradition and religious beliefs with the value of education. USAID funding and assistance is a major step toward improvement, especially since the Pakistani government only allocated 10 percent of spending to education in 2010.
But, despite the gloomy situation, determined efforts to improve the abysmal state of women education can certainly bring positive results for Pakistan. The way forward for Pakistan lies in turning the current sorry state of women education into a robust education system. Pragmatic steps like: Political will vision and commitment, implementation of proposals as recommended in the National Education Policy 2009 to improve the state of women education in the country, provision of infrastructure , competent and sufficient faculty, widening the network of educational institutions for women, removal of social and cultural taboos attached with women education, peace in the tribal areas, correct interpretations of religious scriptures by religious scholars, and establishment of separate public educational television network for the women will certainly go a long way in achieving a strong education system for women in the country.
To conclude, the sorry state of women education lies at the heart of multiple challenges faced by Pakistan. It is the result of decade’s misplaced priorities and criminal negligence towards underestimating the potential of half of the country’s population. Both the state and the society are equally guilty for providing an inhospitable soil for the growth of women education in the country. It has disastrous human, social, economic and political consequences for Pakistan. The time has come for the political leadership to leave their petty politics of non issues and concentrate on real issues. The time has come to realize that Pakistan’s transition into the global knowledge economy of the 21st century critically depends on improving the state of women’s education and not on incumbent government’s love affair with Red buses and Orange trains. One lives in hope that better sense will prevail among the “Shareefs” and concrete steps will be taken to improve the state of women’s education in the country.