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Women Education in Pakistan

  Bushra Abrar Shah

A good education has long been recognized as one of the important foundations in life; facilitating future employment and providing access to a fulfilling adult life. The more liberal definitions of education, where it is understood as development and refinement of one’s personality, without necessarily an eye to economic advantage, have been out of use for long, and one finds only scattered instances of the practice of education with such aims. The educational system of a given society can say a lot about society itself as it often reflects the dominant values of that society. Sometimes it is the just as important to consider how you are being taught as well as what you are learning. educational systems are not just about teaching people subjects, they are also about socializing people and transferring the value systems of the society in which they are situated. Without education the development of a Permanent Culture would be impossible. education is needed to transmit the newly evolved ideas and practices that emanate from different streams of thought and disciplines. People in all the times and in all the communities do fetch for the keys for success and with their experience and exposure they have derived several keys to the success through adoption of those key features one get be successful in attaining success in the life. Among those many keys one of the most basic and the most crucial key is education which can open the doors of development, success and humanity for the people who interested and will for it. education inculcates the manners and the attitude of living for the people and while it makes

you a good professional it also contributes in making you a very good human being. Without education we have seen people getting success in the past but unfortunately at some point soon or later they become stagnant because of the deficiency in education,and there they realize that the key to greater success is the education, without one can able to get the short-lived glory and temporary success but if one is looking for the divine success than education becomes compulsory feature for that concern. Nelson Mandela said: “education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world ” early childhood education focuses on “learning through play” by providing a hands-on, interactive atmosphere where children learn about themselves through playing with other children. as a teacher of young children, you become somewhat of a surrogate parent, their first source of guidance in playing with others and forming friendships. You teach them how to share, how to take turns, how to have manners–lessons that stay with them and evolve with each crucial phase of their life.

Dr. hiam Ginnot says: “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes am impression. Teachers play an important role in education they bring hidden inner capabilities inside a child. First of all, the reason why
formal education is important for us is because we need to learn new skills and new courses in order to survive in a workforce. For example, we have to learn technology, like Internet because we know that it always evolves every time. We have to improve our skill in mastering technology, so we are not left behind from other people.

Education in Pakistan is overseen by the Federal Ministry of education and the provincial governments, whereas the federal government mostly assists in curriculum development, accreditation and in the financing of research and development.The education system in Pakistan is generally divided into six levels: Preschool (for the age from 3 to 5 years); primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate or SSC); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a higher Secondary (School) Certificate or hSC); and university programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees.[4] Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. The picture of educational condition is grim in Pakistan.at most all the urban areas of Pakistan are replete with developed institutes, universities but in spite of this most of the citizens seem to be unemployed.Inaccessibility of education in Pakistan, especially in backward areas is a result of distance, child labor, scarcity of teachers, local leaders, frequent policy changes and fear of losing power.

In KPK and Balochistan women are severely bound by cultural constraints and prejudices.Women which are the 51% on the country population, have been forced to just bear children for their husband and remain within their houses. In Balochistan, female literacy rate stands between 15 to 25%. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the macrocosm. The picture of educational conditions is grim in Pakistan. More than 40 % of young women have never shown in school. “The condition is especially alarming in rural areas due to societal and cultural Obstacle.

The situation of female education in the tribal areas of the country is worse because here females do not give the right to get them educated on their own. Tribal women are not only restrained to remain at home, but at the same time are also enforced and pressurized both emotionally and physically. Due to this reason, the literacy rate of females in these areas of Pakistan is just as low as 7.2 % of the entire female population.

The major cause of this unfair treatment with the females regarding their education in Pakistan, especially in rural and tribal areas is due to the conservative thinking of extremists. Such people consider women’s education to be superfluous and pointless and are against the rules and ordinances of Islam. This thinking must be reviewed so that the faults should be eliminated. Thus, the females which are kept out from the education should be given equal rights so that they can make them civilized and should later contribute to the empowerment of the national economy.

There are some examples I would like to share of the most talented ladies of Pakistan who had earned their name in different fields through their education:

  • Benazir Bhutto was born to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Ispahani. She was the eldest of the four siblings. Her father was the former prime minister of Pakistan. As such, since young, she was exposed to political ideas and policies.
  • She completed her early education from Pakistan and went to US to enroll herself at Radcliffe College, Harvard University. In 1973, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with cum laude honours in comparative government.
  1. Popularly known as the Iron Lady of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto opened the doors of politics for women in Pakistan. Not only did she become the first woman to head a major political party, but she went on to become the first and till date, the only female Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was born to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Begum NusratIspahani. She was the eldest of the four siblings. Her father was the former prime minister of Pakistan. As such, since young, she was exposed to political ideas and policies.She completed her early education from Pakistan and went to US to enroll herself at Radcliffe College, Harvard University. In 1973, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with cum laude honors in comparative government. From 1973 until 1977, she studied philosophy, politics and economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, United Kingdom. In 1976, she became the first Asian woman to be elected as the President of Oxford Union.
  2. Born in Faisalabad, Pakistan, the little Arfa Karim was only 5 when she first came across these strange white “boxes” in her school which later she knew were computers. “When you push a button, something magically appears on the box” said Arfa.

    After she persuaded her father to buy her one, Amjad Karim –who serves with a U.N. peace making force in Africa, began to notice his young daughter’s extraordinary “technical” talent, that’s when he convinced APTECH –an advanced computer institute near their home- to enroll her as a student for she was still too young to apply.

    In 2005, the people at the institute amazed with her unique aptitude, informed her father that Arfa might actually be in a position to seek Microsoft certification; and after only four months of hard work and dedicated study –over summer- the little girl genius passed the exam for developing Windows applications! A process that would’ve normally taken a year to accomplish.
    Being the youngest person to ever obtain this certification –Arfa was certified at only 9 years of age- she got the chance to fly to the USA and meet Mr. Gates himself. Arfa expressed her dream of going to Harvard University or MIT to complete her studies in order to become a developer or a satellite
    Unfortunately, the little genius won’t be able to fulfill her dream, for ArfaKarim, Pakistan’s pride, died at the tender age of 16 after an epileptic seizure that left her in a coma back in December, and eventually led to a cardiac arrest in early January that sent her soul to heavens.

  3. Muniba Mazari born on 3rdMarch 1987, is a wheelchair-bound artist, writer, and singer. Muniba Mazari is of Balouch background and can speak multiple languages, namely Balouchi, Urdu and English. Muniba met with an accident in 2007 on her way to her hometown Rahim Yar Khan, which left her being paraplegic. She was bedridden for two years in Aga Khan Hospital. Muniba Mazari believes in playing with vibrant colors and portrays the naked truth of her emotions. Her work speaks her heart out and is all about people, their expressions, dreams, and aspirations. Her father was her first art teacher and she continued her passion for art and is known as one of the greatest wheelchair bound artists.

Following are the organizations working on the spreading of education for women in Pakistan:

  1. Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) was established in 1992 as a semi-autonomous organization to undertake educational initiatives in the disadvantaged areas of Sindh. The Foundation’s initial activities began with the provision of grants and loans to educational institutes and organizations. However, SEF now provides communities with direct access to educational facilities by opening schools/centers through its various endeavors.

Furthermore the Foundation also undertakes research initiatives, both qualitative and quantitative, to study the impact of its programs and identify improved systems for community enhancement. SEF’s publications include Educate Pakistan’s 1st Magazine on Education & Development, Nurture, Pakistan’s Pioneer Publication on Early Childhood Development, Quantitative Analysis Booklet, Collective, the organization’s Newsletter, SEF ten year document and various literacy manuals.

The range of SEF’s objectives can be principally described as follows:

  • Evolve programs for raising the standard of education.
  • Conduct researches or surveys or hold workshops, conferences, symposiums, to study the educational system, to identify shortfalls and weaknesses and make suggestions or measures for its improvement.
  • Provide financial help or grant under soft terms and conditions.
  • Establish educational institutions especially in less developed or less privileged areas.
  1. Taaleem Foundation strives to implement social change through quality education in the under privileged areas of Pakistan. It promotes educational and research activities by establishing high quality schools and learning centers; and encouraging female participation in mainstream education in the tribal areas. Gender awareness, participatory & consultative culture, public-private partnership and self-sustenance are the hallmarks of this organization. Quality schooling, modern curriculum, co-education and all-female faculty are few of the success factors of this schooling system.

Taaleem Foundation is a non-profit and non-governmental community support organization, registered in Balochistan (Pakistan) since 1993.

The case study of ‘Taaleem Foundation’ earned its founding chairman a PhD degree in ‘Development Studies’ from TCU Louisiana – USA in 2004.

Writer teaches at Garrison Academy Junior Sarwar Shaheed Campus. she can be reached at Komalia.shah6@gmail.com

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About Abdullah Qureshi

The writer is journalist by profession. He has a keen interest in reading, storytelling, writing. He is also a brilliant photographer and a speaker. He also work for PU News letter and Tahqeeq Pakistan. He tweets at @AbdullahAQ10

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