Educational crisis for girls in Pakistan
By: Shahwar Fatima
With a significant gender gap in education, Pakistan ranks as the fifth most populous country, yet struggles with widespread illiteracy, with more than 40 percent of women uneducated.
Despite housing over 200 million individuals, Pakistan scores relatively low in the realm of education. According to UN figures, approximately 22.8 million Pakistani children aged 5–16 do not attend school, ranking second worldwide in this regard. Relative to boys, girls experience heightened obstacles in pursuing a quality education, constituting a gendered disparity in access.
According to the Pakistan Social Living Standards Surveys, there exists a significant gap in primary school enrollment between girls (68%) and boys (79%). Coming to grade six, the enrollment rate decreases to 41 percent for girls and 51 percent for boys. At grade nine, merely 13% of females remain enrolled in educational settings, compared to 21% of males.
A multiplicity of intricate factors contribute here. Addressing issues such as poverty,cultural norms, the threat of violence, insufficient resources, and instructional inadequacies are often the barriers to girls’ education .Economic challenges prevent some rural and remote households from educating their daughters, with sons often receiving priority. Early marriages of girls cause problems too; they range from cultural norms to extremist groups exerting sway.Consequently, the pervasiveness of harassment in educational institutions constitutes a pressing problem, invoking feelings of deep shame for society yet a bitter reality. Parents are correspondingly reluctant to risk their daughters’ safety and reputation. Moreover, schools fail to provide basic facilities such as toilets, clean water, and electricity, which severely affects the quality of education for students, especially girls. And even if they do attend such schools, they get subpar-quality education from poorlytrained teachers.
However, despite these challenges, there are also many stories of motivation and hope for girls’ education in Pakistan. Across the country, there are many girls who fought the stereotypes for educational rights and emerged as shining examples for other girls, and there are different organizations as well that are working for the welfare of girls’ education. Some of these stories include:
-Gul Laila, a resident of Darian Bambian, a far-flung village in Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir location, is a mother and volunteer at a local school. Although she couldn’t find the money for training herself,she is determined to provide each lady in her network a path to progress. She is the chairwoman of the School Governance Council, a parent-teacher organization that works with USAID to improve girls’admissions in schools within the area. She visits the school every day to ensure all instructors are on responsibility and encourages other parents to send their daughters to high school. She has helped in nearly double the number of school-going ladies notwithstanding resistance from a few men in society.
“When I was growing up, we girls were often discriminated against,” Laila said. “Our parents sent our brothers to school, while asking us to cook for them and clean their uniforms. I don’t want our daughters to have the kind of lives we had. I want them to be educated and make their own decisions.”
-In a society in which gender roles and stereotypes often restrict women’s capabilities, Aisha Farooq is a vivid example of dedication and resilience. Her journey as Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot not only shattered the glass ceiling, but also became a country wide symbol of female empowerment. Aisha Farooq belongs to Hasilpur, a subdivision of district Bahawalpur. Ayesha’s avenue to becoming a fighter pilot wasn’t smooth. She faced skepticism and grievance from folks who concept that ladies aren’t capable of doing bodily demanded jobs. But via specializing in her dreams, she proved that her gender must never be a barrier to achieving her own goals. In 2013, Aisha Farooq became first lady fighter pilot in Pakistani records and reached her milestone . Her success is the role model for other females to follow in her footsteps.
She stated approximately operating in a traditionally male-ruled profession,
“I don’t feel any different. We do the same activities, the same precision bombing.”
-Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a international icon for girls’ training, is a native of Swat Valley, a place that become once beneath the manipulate of the Taliban. She got shot with the aid of an anonymous gunman in 2012 for speaking out against the ban on women’s education. She survived the assault and moved to the UK with her circle of relatives, wherein she endured her schooling and activism. She based the Malala Fund, a charity that supports ladies’ education initiatives in Pakistan and different international locations.
-Opportunity EduFinance (OEF), a social employer that gives monetary offerings and technical help to low-fee private faculties in Pakistan and different nations. OEF additionally promotes gender equality by helping colleges that enrol greater women and offer scholarships and incentives for ladies’ training.
Despite the myriad of obstacles , it is heartening to witness the commendable strides being made towards the advancement of girls’ education in Pakistan. However, there still exist plethora of problems and obstacles that demand immediate attention and rectification. First, the authorities must prioritise the establishment of well-equipped educational institutions that bridge the socioeconomic divide, thereby ensuring equal access to education for all strata of society, which is a very long term and challenging step but not impossible. But only good educational institutions are not enough; teachers should be provided with proper training and courses, and selection should be purely merit-based giving equal seats for both genders, as in this way, no one would be able to take bribes to do unjust selection .In addition, teachers should be paid according to their hard work and talents, so that the whole budget wouldn’t go into the big mouths. Further, in co-education centres, implementation of strict rules and complaint system that permits every student to take stand against unlawful activities can prevent the girls from being pressured, afraid, used, and deviating from education .It is an obvious shortcoming of this society that no one can bind or punish rich culprits existing within the educational system, and also going against them without a proper backdrop would put one’s life in danger. So media and higher officials must be involved in exposing the real facets of them. Moreover, it is crucial to initiate comprehensive awareness campaigns and establish funding and scholarships for deserving students, especially girls, whether in terms of competency in education or financial conditions, particularly in far-flung regions, with the explicit objective of safeguarding the well-being and security of girls within the educational framework. In this way, parents would be encouraged to break the tradition and teach their daughters. Restriction, criticism or trolling is not the way to solve this issue; the solution resides in finding the root cause and scratching it until it is resolved. Therefore, it is important to recognise that girls’ education is not only an inherent human right but also a prudent investment that can propel the nation to unparalleled growth and prosperity.