Balochistan was once a deprived province on verge of separation. There had risen a group of people who held up the banner of separation, not for development of the province but to transform it into a shape more conducive to their gains. If they had managed to achieve their goals, they would have stripped the people of the rights they enjoy now. This argument can be supported by the fact that the ‘Sardars’ prevailing in the province don’t want their clans to be educated, and aim to make the people of Balochistan their slaves. In Hub, Turbat, and other distant areas of Balochistan, if a father wants to marry his daughter even in the current period, he must take permission from the Sardar of his clan. Those people are no different from the people of Europe before the Enlightenment where married couples had to ask the King to even be intimate.

It is important, in a scenario where education is suppressed, to analyse the state of education. The male literacy rate in Balochistan is 55% and the female literacy rate is only 25%. About 60% of children abandon their education when they reach middle school. The situation worsens in matriculation, where the dropout rate is 45%.

There are various reasons for this educational predicament. Previously, there were Sardars who didn’t want their people to be educated. The government too did not focus on the development, educational or otherwise, of the largest province of Pakistan. Whereas now, the government of Balochistan is paying special attention to the education sector. Around 24 percent of the budget was allocated for the education sector. That too was not enough to cover the needs of the province so Commander Southern Command started various projects for primary schools. Even then, the province has a lot of room for improvement in its educational setup.

The provisional government passed a bill for gender segregation last year. This was an attempt to raise the literacy level among women. The bill stated that, “Beside boys, the girls would also be allowed to study in all the government-run primary schools across the province”. Saboor Kakar, the Balochistan Secretary Education said, “With this decision, now girls will also have access to schools”.

Furthermore, the provisional government triggered Article no 25-A in Balochistan which implies free and compulsory education for all children. Asfandyar Khan Kakar, the director of Global Partnership for Education in Balochistan said, “This policy intervention will enhance enrolment”.

Another milestone was achieved today when the Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Dr Shahid Siddiqui while addressing the National Conference on English Language and Literature announced free education for students of Balochistan from spring 2018. This is the first time in history when AIOU has announced free secondary education. It is important to mention that AIOU lies in the ‘A’ category of Higher Education Commission.

If educational development progresses this way, the literacy rate of Balochistan will increase and will in turn end corruption, terrorism, poverty, and other socio-economic issues. Education is the key to success but not just compulsory education, and in this view, the initiative taken by AIOU is a major step forward.


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