PakistanWomen & Children

Balochistan’s Children Out of School as 3,500 Schools Close Due to Various Challenges

Balochistan, the largest and most underdeveloped province of Pakistan, is facing a severe education crisis as thousands of schools have been closed due to various reasons, leaving millions of children out of school.

According to the caretaker Balochistan Education Minister Abdul Qadir Bakhsh Baloch, who spoke to APP, the provincial Education Department has been unable to recruit new teachers since 2019 due to political and departmental constraints. He said that over 300 teachers are retiring every month, creating a huge gap in the teaching staff. He said that some 3,500 schools in the province have been closed during the last two months due to a shortage of teachers.

The minister also said that the province has been hit hard by the floods that occurred last year, which destroyed more than 5,500 schools. He said that only 50 of them have been repaired so far, and the rest are still waiting for assistance from the international organisations that have promised to help.

The minister said that the provincial government has decided to upgrade 150 primary schools to middle level, four in each district, and to establish a model school that would help in the promotion of education in the province. He said that without enrolling children in schools, it is impossible to increase the literacy rate in the province, which is the lowest in the country.

The official data shows that about 0.8 million children of school-going age are out of school in the province, and some 1,964 schools have no building. Half of the total 12,000 primary schools in Balochistan have one teacher. Likewise, 11,000 schools do not have electricity, 10,000 do not have water and 1,800 do not have washroom facilities.

The minister said that more than 80% of the budget of the Education Department is spent on the salaries of teachers and other employees, leaving little room for development and improvement of the education sector.

The education crisis in Balochistan has serious implications for the future of the province and the country, as it deprives the children of their basic right to education and hampers their social and economic development. The provincial and federal governments, as well as the civil society and the international community, need to take urgent and effective measures to address the challenges faced by the education sector in Balochistan and to ensure that every child has access to quality education.

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