Hope-deprived children of Balochistan

Ali Jan Maqsood

Balochistan is a blessed province with numerous natural resources. It is the richest province of Pakistan in term of minerals and the smallest in terms of population. Sadly, the Baloch people are living a challenging existence. Our various educational woes are creating more and more illiterate citizens unable to express themselves and seek better opportunities. We remain mired in poverty, while our resources are making others prosperous. One of the main causes of illiteracy is that a huge number of the children are out of school in the province. They are engaged in income-generating activities. Thus this illiteracy is giving rise to the twin-menace of child marriage and child labour.

According to a report in a newspaper, almost 70pc children of Balochistan are out of school. It is appalling to term the bulk of the population, specially children, as illiterate. But it is a fact. Government negligence is mainly to blame for this backwardness. No one in Balochistan seems concerned about the young generation. Many of these young children and their families are unaware of what education can deliver, never having had an opportunity to educate themselves.

Some children wander within cities to collect paper and other waste materials as these can be sold. One of my friends once asked two children carrying sacks of waste: “Why are you carrying these bags instead of school bags? Why don’t you get an education?” One of them laughed and said, “What is the difference between our bags and their bags? We get money and they give money.”

Rural areas are no different. Unfortunately, the government provides neither information nor motivation for the rural people to send their children to school. Of course, this is where there are indeed facilities. There are many areas where there are none.

Thus, the Baloch nation is suffering. We have lived with this situation long enough. We want educational reforms in our province in order to compete with the other provinces and to be able to make some contribution to the development of the country. Provincial and federal governments must demonstrate concern about the province and must take steps to promote education here.

The writer is a student at Atta Shad Degree College, Turbat. 

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