There is not an iota of doubt that compulsory education in many countries including Pakistan is considered a birth right. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, despite the clause of free and compulsory education in its constitution, students face pressure and hardships. That has proven to be the major reason that makes Pakistan the world’s second highest country suffering from the largest number of out-of-school children. The statistics paint a gloomy picture of the current government’s failure to deal with the needs of students.
In Asia, Pakistan is one of those states where the right to education is denied to a large number of students. Many of them waste half of their educational life onroads in protests demanding the very rights that government fails to provide.
Attempts to close the doors of education in Balochistan have created an atmosphere of insecurity. More than 1.9 million children out of 2.7 million-927,542 male and 984,128 female are out of school
Balochistan legs behind in education when it is compared to the other provinces. Many students from Balochistan fail to get admission in universities of Punjab and Sindh and their education is paused. A small number seeks admission in colleges and universities in their own province. If students of Balochistan start to protest on roads how can we chant the slogans of “Naya Balochistan” and “Naya Pakistan”? How can illiteracy rate that stands approximately at 44 percent be reduced in the province?
The education system in Balochistan is abysmal, and not just because of budgetary constraints. Maladministration is the major reason.
Recently, the students of Bolan Medical College (BMC) were arrested and beaten.Some social activists tweeted the videos of the police brutality on the students. In one video, a student who had been demanding his educational rights with many other students of BMC in front of the Balochistan Assembly is punched and taken into a police vehicle. Students are seen chasing the police car, holding placards of “shame on you.” Protesters, including a large number of female students, had been chanting peaceful slogans for their basic rights.
The peaceful protest of the students of BMC was against privatisation and the business centre of the college. Instead of scrutinising the demands of the protesters, government handled the situation in a typical fashion by beating and arresting students.
The education system in Balochistan is abysmal, and not just because of budgetary constraints. Maladministration is the major reason
Existence of public protests show that there is a dearth of solutions. Pakistan, repeatedly, suffers from a culture of brutality on students inside and outside their educational institutions. Such crises abundantly increase the burdens and woes of the country.
Attempts to close the doors of education in Balochistan have created an atmosphere of insecurity. More than 1.9 million children out of 2.7 million-927,542 male and 984,128 female-are out of school. One of the prime reasons behind this massive number is the famine of good education in the province.
The recent scandal of the Balochistan University exposes how unsafe the educational institutions in the province are today. This university has been at the centre of a harassment scandal for more than two months now. The story of harassment and blackmailing of students was reported, leading to the arrest of the university’s branch officer and surveillance in-charge.
Students were filmed without their knowledge via hidden CCTV cameras; that footage was later used to blackmail them. That led to students across the country to raise their voice in solidarity with their fellow students. It was expected that those involved would be reprimanded and, in light of that, the concerns of the students would be heard. Instead, it appears that the opposite has happened.
Students, activists and supporters across Pakistan joined the Student Solidarity March, led by the Student Action Committee, to present a charter of demands including better education facilities and restoration of student unions that have been banned since 1984. After a long-drawn-out continuity of the march, government arrived at the conclusion of restoring student unions in a limited way
The protests were made to seek ameliorations in scholastic and academic environment, which clearly show that the state has failed to provide a better culture of learning.
The writer is a freelance columnist from Turbat, Balochistan and is currently a teacher at the School of Intensive Teaching