Children in Balochistan Living with a Sword Hanging Over their Heads

Munaj Gul Muhammad
The quality of education and health conditions of children in Balochistan are zany. It is the responsibility of state to protect basic rights of children. In Balochistan children are in a state of misery due to lack of interest and will of the state.
Balochistan the largest province of Pakistan is the hub of challenges faced by children. For a long time, children in Balochistan are living in dark waiting for a dawn. Yet there are no serious measures to solve this issue. The following are some of the dire challenges confronted by the children of Balochistan:
It is a bitter reality that Balochistan is the most backward province in term of education where children are deprived of a tip-top quality of education. According to recent estimates, in Balocholistan literacy rate stands at only 35.161 (Male 42.60% and female 21.66%). The fundamental factors for the educational backwardness are shortage of schools, buildings and other facilities. If the government of Balochistan wants to bring changes, first it needs to bring changes in education sector where children must gain knowledge without facing troubles.
Recently, Sagheer, a 14-year olds student, was studying in boys’ model school Kolowa and left schooling due to financial hurdles. Now he is herding.” My parents are poor. They cannot afford to send me in school, because if I go to school I need stationary and uniform. But my parents are so poor and we are living hand to mouth,” regrets Sagheer. Seeing Sagheer with a dream buried in his eyes it makes me woebegone.
Child marriage
Although child marriage is a global issue, yet its prevalence is high in Balochistan due to various causes such as lack of education, poverty and awareness. In Balochistan approximately 22 percent boys and 63 percent girls are married before the age of 18. Child marriage affects both boys and girls, but a majority of girls is affected by this torment.
The splendid lives of girls are spoiled; children of age 14 to 16 are getting married. Because of early marriages mortality ratio during pregnancy is high. Child marriage still persists in most of the villages in Balochistan where illiterate people are involved in such heinous negligence. The people from rural areas are unaware of child marriage and its causes, which is an ominous act.
Nevertheless, in last month a minor, Mariam who belongs to a poor class family got married before 16. “I was very much interested in studying and wanted to become a school teacher but unfortunately now my dreams are crushed owing to early marriage,” Mariam tells her plight.
Out of school children
Around 1.8 million children are out of school in Balochistan and it is very sad to mention that 60 percent of children quit education by the time when they reach the primary and middle school level, whereas 45 percent of students abandon school prior to completion of their matriculation. Apart from this, in Balochistan, more than 5,000 government-run schools are single roomed with a single teacher. And in rural areas schools are in a miserable condition. No basic facilities such as potable water and toilets are available.
Reportedly, the number of out-of-school children in Pakistan is 25 million, but only Balochistan accounts for 66%. Majority of these children belong to working-class families who cannot afford to pay private tuition fee. Government schools are in poor condition; teachers remain absent. Lack of availability of textbooks and libraries as well as shortages of electricity, drinking water, and chairs have worsened the conditions. On the other hand, the corrupt leaders show no empathy towards this cause. They seem busy enjoying their lavish lifestyle. The future of our children is on stake. The government needs to increase its spending on education and create a system where education should be affordable for everyone.
Note: Names of the affected are changed keeping the privacy of people in view
Writer is a teacher who currently teaches in DELTA.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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