GUJRAT: Just when the Punjab government launched its enrolment campaign in schools, parents in four major villages of the district have stopped their daughters from going to schools against the government’s decision of merging primary schools of boys and girls.

Girl students of classes 4 and 5 have been forbidden by their parents from attending schools following a unanimous decision by the village council (panchayat) to resist co-education even at the primary level.

In Union Council Machiwal’s Chokar Khurd village, the government had merged boys and girls primary schools. Students of nursery to class three in these schools had been merged into the girls primary school building, while boys and girls of classes 4 and 5 had been merged into the boys school.

Following the merger decision, a meeting of village elders was called where it was decided that parents would not send their daughters studying in classes 4 and 5 to a co-education school. The decision was announced in mosques of the village and all parents had been abiding by the decision for last two weeks.

A resident of the village whose daughter was a class 4 student told Dawn no girls were attending school and the matter had been reported to the district administration. He said an overwhelming majority of the villagers was religious and they did not accept co-education system in schools even at junior level.

He said concerns of the villagers had been conveyed to the officials concerned of the education department and until the decision by the government was revoked, parents would not send their daughters to school. He said the villagers were not against girls getting education but co-education was not acceptable to them.

The same issue had been reported to the district administration from villages in Tanda, Kakrali and Sara-i-Alamgir where parents were not sending their daughters studying in classes 4 and 5 to schools due to the merger.

Gujrat District Coordination Officer Asif Bilal Lodhi confirmed the reports and said he had already informed the competent authority of the province through a letter and was waiting for a response.

He said if the district administration came up with a local arrangement by resuming the previous system of separate schools for boys and girls it would be a violation of the government policy.

The DCO said the merger had also been done in the tribal belt of Punjab in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur, so people should understand the government’s constraints that led to such a decision.

When asked if barring girls could have a negative impact on the government’s ongoing drive to enrol children into schools, the DCO said the campaign had so far been successful and according to set targets in the district.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (46)

FJ Siddiqui
September 17, 2013 12:39 pm

Understand culture! Go with it while making sure every child gets good quality education respecting their values. Everything will be improved in due time!

Social change is always gradual! Be just a step or two ahead of the society to bring them to the mainstream thought level, else you will be kicked out of the society not matter how logical and rational you be.

September 17, 2013 12:43 pm

Young girls need their education, but more importantly, their parents need awareness as well! I do not understand why young boys were not prevented from going into the merged schools? And, has anyone thought about how this is affecting the young girls' psyche? If you go and ask any one of the girls why they are being held back from going to school, they will answer by saying "because boys go there too". How is this country progressing? How are we going to remove the gender oppression and boundaries if we keep reinforcing them?! Why cannot girls who are between the ages of 5 and 11 go to school with boys? They are children! This is 2013, not 1803! Should we or should we not be teaching our girls that they were made as equals? That they have equal rights in this society? If yes, then why are we denying them a mutual space where they CAN be equals with men? Why are we allowing them to think it is okay for THEM to compromise their education, but the boys can continue. Our country needs social awareness. The fact that women and men interact isn't a sin. It is allowed. It is your intention that matters. It especially is permissible when the child has not even reached adulthood!

September 17, 2013 1:12 pm

If they were against co-education and not girls education they could have easily kept the boys at home and sent the girls to school instead, no?

September 17, 2013 3:16 pm

One of the first principles of development is harmony and consense. Parti bazi is fatal for any development. Start merging schools in villages, where people want it and start making people aware of the benefits in places where they are not yet convinced of it. Succes in some places is the best motivation for others. It takes time but the guijrat-case stops any change completely.

September 17, 2013 4:30 pm

Intriguing question raised by commentators here: Why were the girls stopped and boys allowed? Why not the other way around? Would have served the same purpose: separation of sexes?

September 17, 2013 4:56 pm

bifurcation of sexes at such a tender age............we must be out of our minds.when we were young we had playmates frm the opposite sex and I think it helped us in accepting each other as humans.

September 17, 2013 5:23 pm

Seriously, if there is no discrimination (as according to the parents) so why just keep the girls at home?

Because education is not important for them? because anyway they will not be allowed to work or even express themselves infront of anyone? because you are just preparing them to be housewives, cooking dinner and washing the dishes afterwards?

Are these people actually thinking that going to school together will make their children immoral?

By keeping boys and girls apart from the very start, you are just making them more desperate for the other gender. And therefore increasing the immorality in society, not reducing it.

No wonder we are so far behind from EVERYONE. Even the people you cut off from your country (Bangladesh) have a higher education rate than you. Guess why that is?

Agha Ata
September 17, 2013 6:13 pm

According to one Sharia, co-education is UN-Islamic; according to another Sharia, girls education is UN-Islamic and according to the third Sharia modern education itself is UN-Islamic.

September 17, 2013 8:00 pm

Well, Here is an idea: Stop sending your boys to school and let the girls go. Problem solved! No co-ed. You will thank me later. ..peace

September 17, 2013 8:12 pm

@A.B: The fact that u got 1/3 rd votes in the negative, shows the kind of world even english educated pakistanis live in

September 17, 2013 8:30 pm

is co-ed allowed in islam

Karachi Wala
September 17, 2013 9:42 pm


Good Point.

Just Someone
September 17, 2013 10:05 pm

@Sara and A.B: What is important - girls education or co-education? If the people are averse to co-education why do you want to put them in co-education schools. I think especially given our current circumstances and social, economic and political climate, this was a very bad decision by the administration.

I am currently in the middle of reading a book where a Western author was making arguments against co-education. While being all for the education of girls and teaching them same material the author argued the most effective methods of learning are different for boys and girls.

Apart from that, every area, people and segment of society have their own culture, values and social stigmas. It is better to respect them and approach change gradually than to go against them and in the process do more harm than good.

@A.B We who live in the cities quite often do not know and understand the problems of those living in the villages and rural areas. Have you ever bothered to talk to your driver, your masi and other home servants to understand why they do certain things in a certain way. We consider them as illiterates when at times many of them demonstrate more wisdom than us. There are many reasonable and valid answers to the points that you raised and let's not go into them.

All of us would agree that what is of utmost importance is that we need to educate our children, both boys and girls. Lets do that and forget the modalities.

From a Father

Gulbaz Mushtaq
September 17, 2013 10:35 pm

@FJ Siddiqui: Excellent view.

September 17, 2013 10:46 pm

Is it not sufficient that girls are allowed to attend school? Just imagine Talibans ruling Pakistan in near future when even boys will be barred to attend normal schools, they will be sent to Madersas.

September 17, 2013 10:56 pm

@A.B: Recent case of that unfortunate 5 year old is enough to scare the parents.

its me
September 17, 2013 11:17 pm

@Sara: well lets be realistic with the nature obviously they want their boys to get education as he has to take responsibility of the family tomorrow

its me
September 17, 2013 11:21 pm

@FJ Siddiqui: i completely agree... important is education if parents want separate school government should give separate school its not such a big deal if they would respect and encourage and make it easy for parents more and more kids would go to school ..........

and we should remember where we going .......young gals rapped is just a daily activity ......... in such society parents would definitely be little afraid

IKE Khan
September 18, 2013 1:51 am

Traditionally, we have had separate schools for boys and girls, even colleges. What are we trying to do by this Co-ed? Apparently, someone is testing limits of tolerance and trying to introduce western education at the cost of local tradition and religious norms.

September 18, 2013 3:47 am

@A.B: Forget 21st century or even 19th century. They want it to be 632 forever.

September 18, 2013 9:12 am

If boys and girls learned to interact normally as children in schools, it would go a long way to reducing the harassment that seems to take place in adolescence, because the young men, have no idea of how to behave around women.

September 18, 2013 9:57 am

Get with the program. Why do these parents/communities live in the stone age. Female education is a guarantee to better quality of life and higher GDP for the country.

End of cave-man narrow minded thinking and yes to progress

These community will suffer as a consequence of their narrow view of the world. Government should go ahead and make co-ed primary schools. If they don't send their children then let them suffer another generation of ignorance. Its almost 2014 !

Pakistan Zindabad

tipu singh
September 18, 2013 11:52 am

Give importance to education, let them have separate schools for boys & girls, so that all gets educated, one day these same boys and girls will decide when they become parents about their wards, at least they will be educated to take correct decide what is right and wrong.

September 18, 2013 12:32 pm

It simply proves that our governments do not represent the people and imposes decisions without their consultation. The way of life of local people should not be changed by force.

September 18, 2013 1:01 pm

Happening because of "maulvi involvement", as clear from the news item, saying that announcements were made from mosques. Not clear why Education Dept decision makers make such decision if they cannot get it implemented..

September 18, 2013 1:52 pm

My family is from the Gujrat area, I am quite shocked as this is a relatively prosperous and better educated part of the country. I guess it shows how backwards these so called Panchayats still are, if these are the wise 'elders', it shows they still don't have much common sense. Co ed will help to change Pakistani society and progress our women to be equal members of society. Interesting how yet again the Misogynistic elements use the mosque as the platform to broadcast their views.

September 18, 2013 3:20 pm

This is such a regressive decision. The more you isolate boys from girls, the more they grow up finding it awkward to interact with girls, and treat them badly, rape them, etc.

"He said an overwhelming majority of the villagers was religious and they did not accept co-education system in schools even at junior level."

And Islam says co-education is not allowed?

September 18, 2013 4:46 pm

This is such a regressive decision. The more you isolate boys from girls, the more they grow up finding it awkward to interact with girls, and treat them badly, rape them, etc.

"He said an overwhelming majority of the villagers was religious and they did not accept co-education system in schools even at junior level."

And Islam says co-education is not allowed?

September 18, 2013 4:49 pm

@Sara: i like it good point sara

September 18, 2013 5:45 pm

You can not change cultures like this..whats wrong in studying seperate schools? The mission should be education for all and not the selective education Our govt does everything they are asked to do to damage the culture..

September 18, 2013 7:16 pm

Perfectly correct decision of parents.NO CO-EDUCATION in any circumstances

Khurram Jadoon
September 18, 2013 9:24 pm

@Agha Ata: I think you got Sharia definition from western media .. sorry your are absolutely wrong, wrong and wrong.

Engineer Muhammad Wasim
September 18, 2013 10:54 pm

it is a good decision taken by the active parents. there is no need and important of co-education it this can effect the students study.And it can also effect the good society goodness........

Engineer Muhammad Wasim
September 18, 2013 11:03 pm

Gvrt should not take such steps which can effect the culture. because it is factuality correct every thing can be bear but it can not bear that some one effect your culture . And it will directly effect the female education.

Engineer Muhammad Wasim
September 18, 2013 11:07 pm

Gvrt should not take such steps which can effect the culture. because it is factuality correct every thing can be bear but it can not bear that some one effect your culture . And it will directly effect the female education.

Engineer Muhammad Wasim
September 18, 2013 11:07 pm

@ramesh: good

Engineer Muhammad Wasim
September 18, 2013 11:04 pm

@Sadia: very good

Engineer Muhammad Wasim
September 18, 2013 11:08 pm

@Sadia: very good

September 18, 2013 11:30 pm

@Agha Ata: People belonging to one sharia or the other sends their daughters to schools in USA, where boys and girls study together from grade-1 to masters and medical schools. Sex crimes are more in Pakistan compared to any European countries or USA & Canada.

Wazeer Ansari
September 19, 2013 12:59 am

I appreciate the elders of the village for following the Islamic teachings regarding segregation of sexes and showing ghairat in this matter. Segregation should be started early on these days as it will help in creating an environment of modesty and haya from the very beginning and will send out a strong message that western and secular culture would never be tolerated.

Ash Mirza
September 19, 2013 2:26 am

Education is Key to success for girls and boy. Simple common sense, If girls not given education, than how they can read Quran?? Today I am in USA and became US citizen. Without education u never get better and bever be able to educate your children. Today my both kids well educated and holding a great job. My daughter also graduate from college and working in Hospital. Making good money, I am so happy that my both kids educated, and we don't have any worries.They take care them self... Girls must fight for education, Bcoz in Islam boys and girls are equal. (NO DIFFRENCE WHAT SO EVER) Sincerely, Ash Mirza (USA)

Frodo of Shire
September 19, 2013 10:02 am

@Sara: Awesome insight. Never thought of it that way.

September 19, 2013 2:40 pm

Those asking about the Islamic verdict on this, look at Agha Ata's comment. That about sums it up.

September 19, 2013 8:01 pm

@Engineer Muhammad Wasim : why is it a good decision they want to kppe the girls in ignorance so that they have more control over them why is that as you say a good thing, kids go to school to get an education not as you mention flirt with the opposite sex. these elders need their heads banging together. they need to wake up and see that all children need education if they want to make their way in this world.

September 19, 2013 8:07 pm

@tautology: well said.

September 20, 2013 1:09 am

Do you think separating them is a good deal? If you say yes then kindly go back to caves! Most of us are thinking that by separating boys and girls institutes we are doing a great job but if we consider this matter in physiological perspective then it's having a worst effect on thinking of our people. If you don't separate them from early ages then negative thinking can easily be eliminated by feeding them positivity. We have very less schools/colleges/universities in Pakistan and by separating boys/girls we are greatly reducing number of institutes. The first step to increase literacy is to ban madarsa education system that murders our great little minds!

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