KHAR: Most girls are forced to quit education after passing the primary level due to a lack of sufficient number of middle and high schools in Bajaur Agency, Dawn has learnt.
Sources in the education department told this correspondent that though overall literacy rate in the agency was not good, it was worse among the girls.
They said there were only 20 middle and eight high schools in the agency for a population of 536,520 females, according to the provisional results of the 2017 census. They said females made 49.056 per cent of the total population.
Of the total educational institutions for girls, 172 were primary schools, which meant that most of the girls stopped pursuing education after the primary level.
The sources pointed out that most of the state-run female educational institutions were either built at non-feasible locations or lacked teachers and other facilities.
It has also been learnt that majority of educational institutions in the agency, both for boys and girls, lack basic amenities like proper shelters, boundary walls, toilets, drinking water and furniture.
The parents said their daughters desired to get education and play role in the society’s development, but lack of facilities hampered their quest.
Ikram Khan, a resident of Mamond tehsil, told Dawn that his daughter wanted to become a doctor, but she won’t be able to pursue her dream due to absence of education facilities.
Anbreen, 16, of Salarzai, said she wished to become a teacher, but it seemed she won’t be able to continue her education as there was no high school in the teshil.
Neelam, 15, hailing from Mamond, said she wished to get admission in government girls high school in Khar, after passing grade eighth from the government middle school, Barkholozo, the lone government-run middle school in the entire tehsil, but her family refused to allow her to go to far-flung area.
Human rights and education activists have also expressed their concern over the poor educational infrastructure in the agency, especially of girls education.
Activist Habibul Hassan Yad pointed out that Bajaur was part of the country and under the article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, it’s the responsibility of the state to provide free and compulsory education to every child between the ages of 5 and 16.
Assistant Agency Education Officer, Bajaur, Hamidullah Jan admitted that the education infrastructure in the agency, especially for girls, was in poor state, and needed immediate attention of the government.
Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2017