Education is a dynamic investment for economic and human development and is influenced by the environment within which it exists. While on one hand, the importance of education in today’s day and age must be emphasized to parents, on the other, teachers are the backbone of any education system.

Balochistan has had a dark past when it comes to education. In 2010, a wave of target killing brought education institutions in the province to a standstill. Concerned for their safety, a majority of non-local teachers, mainly Punjabi and Urdu-speaking, fled to Quetta or to other provinces in the country.

According to Human Rights Watch, between January 2008 and October 2010, at least 22 teachers were targeted and killed. Around 200 teachers sought transfers either to Quetta or outside of Balochistan during the same period.

Among those killed was Professor Safdar Kiani, acting vice chancellor at the University of Balochistan, who was attacked on April 22, 2008 while taking an evening walk.

Mr. Hamid Mahmood, Secretary of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, was shot while on his way to his office on October 31, 2009.

Mr Shafiq Ahmed Khan, the provincial Education Minister at the time, was targeted right outside his house on November 25, 2009 .

Professor Khurshid Ansari of the Department of Library Sciences at the University of Balochistan was killed while heading to the mosque for Isha prayers in November 2009.

Principal of the Government College of Commerce Quetta, Professor Mirza Amanat Ali Baig, was targeted outside the institute gates in 2009.

Former Chairman of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education and Principal of Tameer-i-Nau College, Professor Fazal Bari, was killed on March 22, 2010, while on his way to the college.
Mrs. Nazima Talib, an Assistant Professor of Mass Communications at the University of Balochistan was targeted outside the institute in April, 2010.

Mr. Zahid Askani, the principal of a private school in Gwadar was targeted on his way home at the end of the day.

Many of those who were attacked survived. Among them is Professor Jamshed Ahmed, ex vice principal of Government Degree College, Quetta, who subsisted a hand grenade attack on April 12, 2009. Professor Riaz and Professor Furqan of Tameer-i-Nau College also survived similar attacks at their houses.

Fearing for their lives, 25 senior PhDs, including Dr Masoom Zai, Dr Seemi Naghmana Tahir, Dr Mansoor Ahmed Kundi, Dr Nadir Bakht, Dr Shafiq-ur-Rehman, from the University of Balochistan, transferred to other parts of the country.

The names stated here are just a few among the hundreds killed or transferred to other regions of the country. Those who died should be considered martyrs; who lost their lives while in pursuit of educating the future of the country. These deaths are an insurmountable loss for the Education sector in Balochistan.

A look at the present state of the Education Sector reveals that there has been insufficient improvement in the last decade or so. The National Education Management System reveals, that in Balochistan out of 13000 government-run primary schools more than 5,000 reportedly have only one teacher.

A report by Alif Ailaan states that the Government of Balochistan has invested in a number of structural education reforms since 2013. A majority of these reforms were about poor infrastructure of schools and a shortage of teachers recruited on merit-based criterion.

According to the Balochistan Education Sector Plan (BESP, 2013-2018), the provincial government implemented initiatives for bringing quality standards to testing of learning levels and restructuring of the system through District Education Authorities (DEA), among other issues. However, despite the reforms claimed by the provincial government the education crisis remains unresolved.

The solution lies in ensuring the security of students as well as teachers in the province. Attacks on educators and institutions must be analyzed so that operating procedures can be put in place to prevent and counter any malign activities in the future. This would eventually encourage teachers from other regions of the country as well.

Granted that the Balochistan education crisis lies at an intersection of multiple issues in the province. It is nonetheless, a problem that requires special attention.


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is a Mass Communication graduate from NUST. She enjoys creative writing, reading and, photography in her free time.

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