ISLAMABAD, Oct 11: As Malala Yousafzai, struggles between life and death, members of civil society, NGOs and intelligentsia vowed to continue her struggle to make education accessible to girls throughout the country.
Addressing a gathering on the ‘International Day of the Girl’ here Thursday, speakers highlighted that girls of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were not the only ones facing hurdles in attaining an education but in all the other far-flung areas where transportation, safety and lack of essential facilities at schools was creating a difficult situation for girls.
At the seminar an NGO — Plan Pakistan — announced the launching of a campaign ‘Because I am a Girl,’ (BIAAG) which would work towards eradication and reduction of social barriers and hurdles faced by girls in attaining a decent education.
It was highlighted that imparting education to girls is considered a taboo in many communities in the present era in Pakistan, and many extremists were against social workers working in fields of health and education.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Education Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Madad Sher, informed that girls belonging to Astore and Diamir districts also faced problems in the field of education.
“That is because they are not allowed to go to schools as their parents who themselves are illiterates consider schools as places of bad influence on their daughters,” Mr Sher said, adding, “Though going to school is not an issue for girls in the whole of Gilgit-Balitstan but extremists in a few areas were advocating against education for girls.”
However, to counter this move, the GB minister said that they have initiated a programme of schools at homes, and each such home is paid Rs10,000 monthly so that more inhabitants in rural areas are encouraged to join the scheme.
It was also highlighted that there are more girls enrolled in public sector schools in Sindh than the number of boys enrolled from class I to X and the number continues to increase.
“The enrolment in public schools has increased by 4.17 per cent during 2006 -10, whereas the girls enrolment increased by 6.19 per cent compared to the increase of 2.34 per cent for boys,” said Ms Aftab Inayat, consultant for Education Department, Sindh.
She also highlighted that her province had named one school in Saddar, Karachi in the name of ‘Malala’ when she visited Sindh a few months earlier.
The gathering in honour of Malala Yousufzai, stood and expressed the resolve to support girls education.
While, the Education Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Hussain Babak lauded the efforts of people like ‘Malala’ who have continued to attain education despite continued threats in their areas.
“Schools – especially girls’ schools are being destroyed, female students attacked, threatening messages are a regular feature in my province – but still I am proud to say that 98 per cent of position holders in school examinations are girls.” Sardar Hussain Babak said.