Balochistan has failed to recognize the emergency it faces with respect to out-of-school children. Notwithstanding the efforts made by the Provincial government to improve education in Balochistan, the situation persists in remaining dismal in the province. However, Balochistan has been confronting manifold deep-rooted issues, but yet most of these issues remain unsolved.
At the same time, the education emergency in Balochistan is not only about school enrollment. It is much graver than that. Many children attending schools are unable to read a sentence in any language or do basic mathematics even in secondary school.
It is no secret that the bane is countrywide, with out-of-school figures for Balochistan equally distressing.
Balochistan Education Information Management System, through Policy Planning Unit, there were 937905 children enrolled in the schools out of the estimated 2.600 million children’s in 2018. At the same time, there is a dropout rate of 25% up to the Higher Secondary level.
The other anomaly is the disproportionate number of schools, there are 11706 Primary Schools, 1419 Middle Schools and 1054 High Schools. In principle, there has to be one Middle School on each three Primary Schools, and one High School on each three Middle School. Amongst the Primary Schools 5200 are single teacher schools in a single room, for all the pre-school and primary class’s girls and boys. To clarify the matter these figures, exclude the Private Schools, Missionary Schools, Federal Government Schools and the Schools run by Pakistan Army, still the half of the school going children are out of the schools.
Balochistan has spent over 85 per cent of the total budget allocated for education every year since 2013 however, a significant portion of the development budget for education remained unutilized every year. Of the approximately Rs38 billion allocated to education in annual development budgets between the years 2013-14 and 2016-17, over Rs11 billion (30%) could not be utilized. In the recent Budget Balochistan government has allocated an amount of Rs 12.680 billion under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) 2019-20 for development of higher education. The provincial government also released grant of Rs 13.907 billion for higher education’s annual expenditures.
The Balochistan Education System through a campaign has found out that, 176 schools closed in Awaran district during one-week.
Furthermore, the campaign has also come to know that 104 schools which had been approved in 2018 have not started their educational activities yet. Many schools in the district are closed for 15 or 20 years. The rooms of many schools are on dilapidated condition.
Most of the teachers roam free on officers’ parole. The organizer of the campaign apprised that, the campaign was started from a closed school and added that, as the campaign progressed, we came across such kind of records which made us extremely surprised.
Balochistan Education System in its recent research has identified that 60 schools for which a cluster-wise budget released by the Secondary Education Department Balochistan for the Education Department of Awaran are closed but the budget has been allocated for those closed schools.
Furthermore, Cluster-wise budget released by the Secondary Education Department Balochistan in the 2019-20 Department of Education for Reading, Writing Materials, mats and Furniture, repayments of Buildings , Uniforms, PTSMC and Scientific Equipment of Rs. 3975998 . However, the first part of the budget, consisting of two installments has been transferred to the district.
The Balochistan Education System has identified 60 schools which had been closed for a long period of time, but Rs 62, 99,756 has been allocated for the budget.
There is no reading, writing material inside the schools, no scientific equipment, no scientific teacher, the schools have been dilapidated for many years. The UNICEF introduced Local Education Council, adopted by Balochistan Education Department does not appear anywhere in Awaran.
The state of education in Balochistan is absolutely pathetic. Balochistan cannot go too far if it continues to raise an intellectually poor people. We suggest Chief Minister Balochistan to monitor the funds allocated for the education departments and hold a fair investigation how the funds are plundered by the officers working in education department and make them accountable.