In Pakistan’s largest province only 1.3 million children have access to schools. Balochistan is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran and known for being rich in natural resources. This area of Pakistan is also known for its extreme poverty and sectarian violence that has plagued the region for years. Recurring violence, along with other social issues, and deficits within the education department prevent children from attending school.
The failure to get these 2.3 million children back into schools will have disastrous consequences for their future. The main concern is that without an education, the cycle of poverty that has devastated Balochistan for years will continue. The Education Secretary for the province, Ghallum Ali Baloch also said that children in his jurisdiction also “score poorly on other social measures, including literacy, health, sanitation and access to safe drinking water”.
The Pakistani government released data saying there are over 12,000 schools and 56,000 teachers spread out across the province. Secretary Baloch also added that 2,000 schools are not functional and 3,000 teachers do not show up for work. To make matters worse, independent sources say that the government numbers are not accurate and the problem is actually much worse. Mujeebullah Gharsheen is the president of the All Government Teachers Association and he claims that closer to 6,000 schools are not functioning.
He also added that it is closer to 5,000 teachers that are not showing up to work. Gharsheen also brought attention to another issue: teachers, who lack qualifications, working with fake degrees. He was quoted saying, “A large number of teachers in [the provincial capital city of] Quetta and other parts of Balochistan have been working [with] fake degrees in educational institutions. Even in Quetta city there are 700 teachers working [with] fake degrees. They enjoy complete impunity.”
– Colleen Eckvahl