Education for all: Primary schools in Balochistan to end gender segregation

January 23, 2016

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Beside boys, the girls would also be allowed to study in all the government-run primary schools across the province. -AFP/File
Beside boys, the girls would also be allowed to study in all the government-run primary schools across the province. -AFP/File

QUETTA: The government of Balochistan, in an attempt to improve female literacy rate, declared on Saturday that all primary schools across the province will now function without any gender segregation.

Beside boys, the girls would also be allowed to study in all the government-run primary schools across the province, said a notification issued by the provincial education department.

The basic reason behind this decision was to improve female literacy rate and ensure enrollment of out of school girls in educational institutions, said Balochistan Secretary Education Saboor Kakar.

"With this decision, now girls will also be having an access to schools", Saboor Kakar, the Balochistan Secretary Education said.

The provincial government has already declared education emergency and has announced implementation of article 25-A of the Constitution, which calls for free and compulsory education for all children.

"This policy intervention will enhance enrollment," said Asfandyar Khan Kakar, the director of Global Partnership for Education in Balochistan.

Balochistan is lagging behind other provinces in terms of key social indicators, education is one of them. Especially, female literacy rate portrays an abysmal picture.

According to the officials of Balochistan Education Department, the female literacy rate in Dera Bugti district was less than 5 per cent.

The government has also launched a campaign to enroll out of school children.

However, the former adviser to chief minister on education, Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareech, revealed few weeks back that around 1.6 million children were still out of schools in Balochistan.

"We need to construct at least 10,000 schools to ensure provision of education among children," Sardar Bareech said.

Senior officers in education department said that disproportion in terms of construction of schools in Balochistan was one of the serious problems. They said in interior Balochistan some schools established on political basis were npot being utilised.

"Gender-free schooling would help us in improving female literacy rate," Asfandyar Kakar said.

Balochistan government is also considering appointments of female teachers besides male in primary schools to ensure provision of quality education to the children.

Education was given first priority by previous governments in Balochistan with allocation of around 24 per cent budget for the sector. However, little progress has been made in improving the quality of education and enrolling the out of school children in the province.