There is no doubt the education system of Pakistan is in a bad shape, but a segment of the society doesn’t even have access to the kind of education available to the rest of the country. As the world marks International Women’s Day, women in our country have been left without basic education for years and not much is being done on this front.
While there are separate schools for girls in Pakistan, number of schools, social dogma, terrorism, negligenceon part of the government are some of the factors that have made the situation worse for women education. On the one hand, terrorists blow up girls’ schools and colleges and on the other parents refuse to send their daughters to schools.
According to data compiled by AlifAilaan, only 11.9 million girls are enrolled in schools out of the total 25.6 million while 53% of girls between 5 to 16 years of age are out of school. The report further says that the share of out-of-school girls is higher across the country, while the most disparityis seen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where 50 per cent of girls are out of school.
This situation is very concerning as such a large number of the population is being neglected and denied their most basic right. Even the constitution of Pakistan guarantees the right to education for every citizen of Pakistan, but women in our country are deprived of this basic right.
Another report by the Ministry of Education & Training titled “Country Report of Pakistan Regarding: Accelerating Millennium Development Goals 2013-15” gives parents’ refusal as the top reason for girls not attending schools followed by the expense of education.
It is also concerning that the major hurdle in educating women is their own parents. This is particularly challenging because building schools and hiring teachers are easier than changing the perception of the people. Bringing change in the society seems to be the only solution to this long standing problem.
Government needs to adopt a pro-active approach by initiating a social change. It is a good sign that the government has itself identified the hurdles for women education. Similarly, it is also the duty of the educated class of the country to play their part and help the government to ensure that education is provided to all regardless of gender, race and religion. There is only one solution for all the ills of the country, and that is through meaningful education of all members of the society.As Brigham Young famously said, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”