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SDGs and Pakistan

Achieving gender parity in rural Pakistan schools: A postcolonial perspective (Part 1)

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The historical status of girls’ education in the rural parts of Pakistan such as Balochistan is bleak. Various national and international reportsintrastate discourse and political rhetoric argue that patriarchy, remoteness, poverty, security and rugged topography are mainly responsible for the indicators of girls’ low enrolment and high dropout in the rural schools of Pakistan. I want to emphasize, however, that these factors interact with the discourse of education policy, changing power relations, the role of stakeholders and policy actors, and the emerging mode of governance and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) policy processes. Keeping this backdrop in mind, in this series of blog posts I outline some key issues to explore a different way of thinking, informed by a postcolonial approach, in relation to the girls’ education in rural areas of Balochistan. In this first post I want to provide some context to understanding Balochistan, and why these challenges persist and in the following one I argue that the education policy developments are problematic in postcolonial Pakistan.

Image credit: District Education Group 

Background on Balochistan and the policy landscape

Balochistan is one of Pakistan’s four provinces that accounts for around 5.5 percent of the country’s 207.77 million people and constitutes 44 percent of the total land. Pakistan is a low-income country with 1186 USD GDP per capita and it ranks 110 out of 141 countries in the global competitive index (GCI). The literacy rate in Pakistan is 60 percent, 49 percent females and 70 percent males. Pakistan ranks 130 out of 137 countries in primary education and performs better than only Afghanistan in South Asia (SA) in girls’ education. The gender parity index (GPI) in primary school participation is 0.85 and girls’ enrolment rate is 68 percent, better than only Afghanistan in SA, and Chad and South Sudan in sub-Saharan countries. 

Within Pakistan there is also severe disparity in the schools by province and rural/urban location. For example, in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) less than 10 percent of girls are out of school whereas in rural Balochistan it is over 75 percent. In Pakistan the diversity in geography, religious beliefs, culture, social and economic situations of various population groups and regions pose different challenges and opportunities for girls’ education. Girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in the rural remote areas of Balochistan will most likely not participate in school or they will be at risk of leaving school early. 

Image credit: District Education Group

The number of international, national and local policies has risen over the past few decades in response to the increased number of girls not enrolled in school, increased dropout rates and a wide gender disparity in schools in Balochistan. A brief overview of education policy development in Pakistan reveals various initiatives and instruments at the federal and provincial levels, that are enacted in the form of policies, programmes, legislative Acts and strategies, to achieve the targets of Education for All (EFA) and gender equality in schools. The vision of EFA was initiated in Jomtein, Thailand in 1990, reiterated in the Dakar framework of action in the year 2000, and continued as an unfinished agenda beyond 2015 in the Incheon Declaration

The constitutional and legal measures in Pakistan include the incorporation of Article 25-A into the 1973 Constitution of the country to protect the right of every child from the age of 5 to 16 years, irrespective of gender, to education. The Balochistan province further responded with enactment of the Balochistan Compulsory Education Act (BCEA) 2014 to implement Article 25-A of the Constitution in the province. 

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The national and provincial education targets, previously aligned with UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), now aligned with the SDGs, as well as framework of action agreed in the Incheon Declaration by all the member countries to achieve SDGs 4 and 5 by 2030. In the year 2000, in order to address the challenges of poverty, health, education and others, the global community had agreed to achieve eight goals through timebound and measurable objectives and targets. Various international aid packages through UN organizations, donor agencies, transnational organizations, non-government organizations (NGO) have been technically and financially supporting the national education system at different locations such as national, provincial and local. 

Many other countries with similar socio-economic situations and education indicators to Pakistan have significantly progressed and achieved most of their education related MDG targets such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in South Asia. However, Pakistan missed almost all its education related targets by a huge gapUNESCO (2015) reported that Pakistan was a long way away from achieving gender parity in primary school level, despite SA as whole already achieving the target. 

In this situation, owing to severe disparities in schools on the basis of gender and rural-urban locations, UN organizations, donors and transnational organizations enhanced their support at the national level as well as in all provinces including Balochistan. In the next blog post, I argue that these policy developments are problematic in postcolonial Pakistan and draw on three overlapping forms of globalization: commodification of human efforts; expansion of western culture; and influence of global policies to the state policies to illustrate the divide in policy and practice for achieving gender parity in schools in Balochistan (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1: Three forms of globalization

67 replies on “Achieving gender parity in rural Pakistan schools: A postcolonial perspective (Part 1)”

Great article and very welcomed input to Balochistan province. I agree there should be no reason to try to uplift the primary enrollment of balochistan at par with islamabad. 75% non enrollment is alarming. You have raised very good points and great analytical comparisons with other locations. Mention of section 25A is good, this means the first step solution is already there it’s just a matter of solid implementation.

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A fair analysis and shocking numbers when it comes to girls education in rural Area of Balouchistan. A more focused and visible effort is solicited at both Provincial and Federal level to help educate the girls. We are into 21st century and it is the basic right of all children without any gender parity. Hope such comparative analysis serve as an eye opener for the powerful elites.

Good work!!

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Dear Javed, your analysis is spot on. The article is well written, engaging and clearly spells out the sad state of affairs in educating our young girls in Balochistan.

You’re correct in pointing out that the majority of our girls in Balochistan are still left out and are not attending Schools despite efforts being carried out by various governmental and non-governmental organizations. I’m looking forward to your next write to understand why these efforts have largely failed to make an impact thus far.

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The initiative to identify weaknesses regarding girls’ education in rural parts of Pakistan such as Balochistan is highly commendable as there is substantial lack of research in this area.
This article underscoring the interaction of various reasons for low enrolments and high dropout of girls in rural schools of Pakistan allows for multi-faceted understanding of the situation. Comparison of Pakistan with other countries direct towards need for evaluation, motivation and hope. Diversity of challenges and opportunities for girls in different provinces as well rise of policies at all levels without expected outcomes highlight a problem-focused approach. The coherence in article is also laudable.

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Dear Javed,
loved all your previous writings that been read, but the topic you have selected for this piece is fabulous. In an artistic manner, you have elaborated the most neglected sector with all available facts and figures, with your linguistic genius, this would be a piece of literature as well. Beautifully attempted the subject and have researched it like a historian, providing a bursting and realistic account of existing education conditions and bleak progress travelled. This would alter the minds and thoughts of the most ardent who have yet not accepted the gap on gender inequality particularly in the field of education. In short, is a magnificent narrative of the melancholy state of failures. It would not only be a guideline but a beacon for the pupil in line. Waiting to read the upcoming marvels from you.
Profound Regards

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A Great standardised analysis of A very sensitive problem of Balochistan ; girls education . To achieve a tolerant society education of women is the most important factor . Well done for raising awareness about this matter

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Amongst plethora of acute issues Balochistan is grappling with, highlighting alarming situation of girls education in rural areas of Balochistan is indeed at the heart of these issues. Undeniably, the writer of this particular write up deserves every applause for having discussed this issue with pertinent facts and figures and comparative analysis. Worth reading would be the writer’s up coming write up , delving deep into this matter of paramount importance .

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A very concise and articulate piece of writing encompassing all facts and numbers. Owing to the fragile social indicators, girls dropout in rural areas is in the rise. The novel Singal National Curriculum (SNC) that stipulates english as medium of instruction from pre-schooling to classe 5 would further aggravate the situation. There is a conspicuous need of Public-Private partnership to uplift girl’s education in rural areas of Pakistan. Less enrollement of girls in rural areas of Balochistan is a daunting challenge. This article has clearly illustrated the said issue.

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This is truly a brilliant build up to a more refined and complete analysis of the topic. One thing that needs to be digged deeper is how other nations with similar socioeconomic indicators have acheived gender parity in the past two decades. May be the overlapping factors of globalization and how they have triggered divide in policy and practice, in Pakistan’s educational governance, should present an answer to this conundrum. Waiting for the next blog!

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Aptly analyzed, the writer has pointed out a contemporary challenge in our era. Disparity in gender based primary education sector in urban- rural is very huge. 75% girls are out of schools in the Balochistan, a huge portion of population is going to out of work force. If a nation’s 50% population is out of work force, this will surely effect its socio- economic and political affairs.

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A thorough analysis of problem of girls’ education. An efficient policy needs to be chalked out by keeping this article in mind.

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Sir,
Your analysis ,on gender disparity in educationally sector of Balochistan, is commendable.Lack of access to education for girls is part of a greater landscape of gender inequality in Pakistan.Your figurative language has exposed the ugly face of so-called gender parity in Pakistan.Likewise,you have rightly highlighted the socio-cultural barriers which are hurdle in the way of women education.Truly,cultural barriers are the obstacle for girls to get equal ground for quality education.The country needs to provoke article A-25 in its true sense for eliminating gender disparity in Pakistan.Really appreciate the subject , you have chosen for the article .

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A well-detailed, factual and indepth analysis of parity in educational sector. What we need to understand is the fact the half of our population does not have a role in our national economy. This sad state of affairs is only beacuse of the fact that girls are far from getting enrolled in schools and colleges. Educating girls is not only the right thing to do for a society but it is an economic imperative….

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This piece of writing is brought one of the most neglected topic into limelight i. e., gender praity in education institutions of the rural areas of Pakistan generally and Balochistan, specifically. A few result-oriented researches have been done to trace the factors of disraity in rural schools, this is one of those writings. This research not only help those who are working for educational praity in the remote areas of Balochistan, but also to the governmental authorities and Non-governmental organizations to look for their weaknesses and work for the betterment of girls education in the remote areas of Pakistan.

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This piece of writing is brought one of the most neglected topic into limelight i. e., gender praity in education institutions of the rural areas of Pakistan generally and Balochistan, specifically. A few result-oriented researches have been done to trace the factors of dispraity in rural schools, this is one of those writings. This research not only help those who are working for educational praity in the remote areas of Balochistan, but also to the governmental authorities and Non-governmental organizations to look for their weaknesses and work for the betterment of girls education in the remote areas of Pakistan.

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Excellent analysis of a very serious issue of Balochistan. Education of women is most important for the development of any society. Good work. Welldone.

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Girls education play an important role for reinforcing a tolerant society. You rhetorically highlight the disparity in education system of Balochistan.

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Good and thought provoking insights from the trenchant pen of the researcher. I myself being a researcher found a lot of new things in it. Noveljity is something that makes it more interesting.

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Patriarchal values are deeply embedded in the society of Pakistan, and its different manifestations are observed in different aspects of the society.The significant factors for the increased gender disparity within Pakistan are the parental unequal treatment towards the different genders of their children, girls, and boys under normal routine. Furthermore, societal aspirations can also be stated as the leading cause of gender disparity.Unfortunately, gender parity in every sector has been the most neglected area of research in pakistan.This piece of writting is highly appreciable.

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It is rare to see such articles these days specifically focusing on female education in Pakistan and that too in Balochistan. Truly provides interesting facts and statistics about the matter. I agree with an earlier comment that tolerant societies require educated women, in fact nations are built when mothers are literate and sensible, without any prejudice. Excellent read!

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A very real and satisfactory depiction of education system in Balochistan. For the first time a deep analysis along with ground realities has been undertaken to understand the root cause for chronic illiteracy. It’s really appreciating that Balochistan’s education system has been so specifically emphasised with special focus to girls education. Hope that it would help the main stakeholders to work in grey areas developing the education sector specially girls education. Great work.

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It’s very important to highlight the gender disparity in education sector. Despite having policies and legislative Acts, Balochistan remained way behind when it comes to Girls Education which shows that our educational system has some serious flaws in it which restrict female literacy in the province. It is high time to work on the issue and come up with positive and constructive policy guidelines to bring desired results.

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The gender disparity has been very well elaborated and the same can be noticed from the huge gap in number of Boys and Girls Educational institutes In rural districts. The gap widens from Middle level to Secondary and higher level schools.

Such scholarly written articles can prove to be a great support in formulation of public polices to bridge the gaps and achieve gender parity in schools in Balochistan .

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Gender parity in Pakistan has always remained a distant dream particularly in Balochistan. Majority of girls in Balochistan are deprived of their basic right of education. Girls education has been treated like a step mother by policy makers in Balochistan. I hope this article will pave the way for improving gender parity in Balochistan..

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In the tribal and Patriarchal society of Balochistan, girls are degraded, subjugated to pressure, denied basic rights and access to Education.In general sense education is form of learning in which skills, knowledge and Habits of one generation transformed to the next. Female education is very important in changing mind, character, personality and development of society. Female education and gender parity are two major aspects without which we can’t achieve progress

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A comprehensive analysis of state of girls education in Balochistan.Such articles are significant for spreading awareness regarding girls education as they highlight the plight of female population In Balochistan and elsewhere.Such a tremendous insight into the issue of Gender parity and the education system of Balochistan, bravo !!!

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Fascinating read! Great to see son of land is taking up the issue.
I agree there should be no reason to try to uplift the primary enrollment of balochistan at par with islamabad, atleast…75% non enrollment is alarming. Mention of section 25A is very prudent. This means the direction is set, we just need to take right steps towards that.

Something i would really love to read in future write would be your insight into cultural, social and domestic challenges of the province thats restricts implementation. For instance, why is Balochistan at the bottom of South Asian nation? What favtora or challenges are prevalent at grassroot level that limit enrollment and how can situation be improved to implemet sectionA.

I think, being a local, your contribution to these factors would be invaluable addition.
Great initiative, keep up the good work.

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It is an excellent article on a significant issue. The author deserves appreciation for working on it. Indeed, such researches are required in order to understand such important issues.

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The whole edifice of the cultural and social needs of a society is dependent on the level of its education. As long as the other variable to the binary remains devoid of education, progress cannot be substantiated in any society. A great read to understand the problems and shortcomings of the girls’ education system in Balochistan. The issues of the girls’ education need significant analysis and prescription of policy measures that this article aims to take up. Concrete, articulate and effective.

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A topic close to my heart. You have hit the nail on the head. The GPI in respect of Balochistan province paints a very alarming scenario as you highlighted in your write up. This state of affairs need threadbare deliberations and concrete recommendations to influence policy makers to review current approaches and formulate policies that dent the problem and narrow the gap exists between boys and girls and enabling an improved environment to ensure access to and retention of girls in schools. This disparity not only hits girls to access schools but at the same time narrows down sources of livelihood to educated female. In a province where education is the only sector which offers exclusive job opportunities to female, this wide gap in the GPI (if continues), cripples their access proportionately. Your investigation of this core issue will be a value addition to the existing work and is commendable. Keep it up.

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It’s great to highlight the most important and neglected section, that is women education in rural areas of Balochistan in a very logical way that based on facts and figures, comparison, constitutional obligation and its worse impacts on society in the form of poverty, security and health that needs to be highly regarded and valued.
Regards

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Well articulated article and highlighted the factual position of a downtrodden province Baluchistan in terms of gender parity and quality education for girls a post colonial era study in Baluchistan. The area has remained less focused with meager interest in different era. But as a matter of fact, this study highlighted the deprived section of the society which was need of the hour to be given high priority. The study is based upon the figure which is discernable to the common people. However,this section of the society is much vulnerable in terms of quality education. This dissertation deserves applaud and appreciation in the given area for this very backward district of Pakistan.

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A comprehensive analysis of state of girls education,
The gender disparity has been very well elaborated and the same has been noticing from the huge gap in number of Boys and Girls educational institute.
Majority of girls in Balochistan are deprived of their basic right of education.
The policy makers never understand the basic problems of girls education particularly in rural areas of balochistan.

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It’s really an informative write-up on status of girls’ education in rural parts of Pakistan. Applauds for the efforts to bring such an important but ignored matter to light.
I believe that community involvement in schools will boost girls’ education, increase students’ enrolment and will serve as an effective check on teachers’ absenteeism, ensure quality of education and availability of basic facilities.
Further introduction of early childhood development (ECD) interventions are required to serve the purpose. Successful ECD interventions emphasize on, inter alia, nutrition, stimulation, and basic cognitive skills.

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Good to read the article about the female education in Balochistan.but need practicle work to removes these.hardles and have to accept the women empowerment so that we can contol the issues regarding gender discrmination .

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Dear Javed
Your writing is an eye-opener. Balochistan has been lagging much behind as compared to other regions n all socio economic indicators. In multidimensional poverty index MPI we occupy the highest level of poverty at 71%.

Our contribution in the national GDP has merely remained 3%.

Only 33% of the population has access to drinking water.

Use of gas for cooking remains only 28%.

Toilet like basic facilities are only available to 31% of the population.

20% of the people in the province still do not have electricity.

Road density in the province dismally low at 0.09 km /sq/km

Dear Javed all the above issues we are facing have been actually summed up n your write up. You have actually hit the bull’s eye.our all malaise emanate from one single issue and that is gender disparity in Edn. We can not turn the tables untill and unless we do not educate our half of the human resource. Gender disparaty in education has not only kept our women folk deprived of education , it has consequently deprived the province as a whole to perform well and catch with other regions.

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A master piece which has highlighted i would say the most neglected and vulnerable segment of society which indirectly contributes almost 60% to the economy but recieves nothing for its own betterment and prosperity I hope your this research work will be a milestone achievement even if we move it on that direction today

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A pragmatic analysis of the state of affairs in Balochistan.such an analysis will also lead to the solution of the problem. Gender parity and a equal education for all can guarantee the development of a country. A great written article from an excellent bureaucrat

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Javed shb well articulated
It’s very important to highlight the gender disparity in education sector, Balochistan have been remained way behind when it comes to Girls Education which shows that our educational system has some serious flaws in it which restrict female literacy in the province. It is high time to rise the issue and come up with positive and constructive policy guidelines to bring desired results.

Hope things will change ..

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This article is an important milestone on girls education in Balochistan, girls education has been neglected aal the time, girls education on inner Balochistan is almost non existent,this is a very good and comprehensive analysis.

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Indubitably, Balochistan has always been left alone when it comes to girl education. There have been different myths created against the baloch culture and tradition that have put baloch and balochistan with the lowest school-going girls. In the post-colonial structure, the girl in balochistan is still othered in the field of education. Particularly, schooling has never been dealt prudently from provincial to state level. No UN educational policy has been appeasing reaching each home at each corner of the district. Dear Javed, your approach to this topic is deeply applauded, and whatever you have discussed is largely important on part of the evolving Balochistan that banks upon school-going girls. In essence, Balochistan needs to be schooled, infact, girl schooling is the prime factor for the sorry state of affairs in the province.

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A Very deep analysis on gender parity and girls education in balochistan. Balochistan has been facing this issue for long and has been lagging behind in terms of education, socio-economic development due to this very reason. This right up has summed up the issues and identified the factors behind this. This is high time we realise it and work on it.

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It’s interesting Article because every girls has to be given equal opportunity to be educated as boy’s and by giving education to them around world can give them better future.
And it gives us knowledge about the literacy rate of girls in Balochistan and overall education in deprived province.
It’s very Important women have a greater chance of escaping poverty, leading healthier and more productive lives, and raising the standard of living for their children, families, and communities.
These and many more are some of the valuable reasons why we should all support education for girls too. For every boy that is educated, every girl should be educated too.
What would it take to improve Girls’ access to Education.
We believe girls are also crucial to peacebuilding they hold the keys to the future of huminity therefore it’s important girls have access to support and education.

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A wonderful write up that offers an insight into all the disturbing, but realistic figures. Irony is that despite being one of the major hurdles in our way to becoming a prosperous nation, girls education often remained a less talked about and more ignored area in our intellectual discourse. It is encouraging to see that now efforts are being put in to address this obstacle in its totality, and it is a significant silver lining. Looking forward to getting some invaluable ways-out on how to remove the bottlenecks and pull out the”DIS” from the “PARITY”

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You have made an appropriate analysis of girls education in balochistan which is based on your own overwhelming experience in this field working on various senior level administrative and managerial positions in the province .No one could make such a fair and appropriate analysis . It’s very right that in case of Balochistan there is huge gap between making rules/ policies and implementation on ground

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Very good and comprehensive article by javid Shahwani about girls education in remotes area of Pakistan specially in Balochistan. Woman education is key role for development of conmunity unfortunately Balochistan is still faraway in this sector.

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A fair and well articulated, Comprehensive which covers statisticles, reasons with full analysis regarding the girls education in Balochistan.

We appreciate to writer for raising awarness and brought the reall fcat of rural areas of Pakistan.

Hope such studies stimulate change in positive direction. Best Wishes

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It is an excellent analysis of current education situation in Pakistan and a pragmatic approach to redress the grave issues being faced in this most important sector. The research based article of the write is highly recommended to the the policy makers for consideration.

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This piece of writing very eloquently attempts to feature one of the key areas of national development and also various socio, economic and cultural impediments in that. The deep insight setting out a rural perspective with facts and figures though grim can also be attributed to author’s personal attachment and understanding of the subject matter. It points out that the demands of modern era and development in a highly competitive age can not coexist with such a state of affairs where half of human population is not being properly equipped and utilized.
The problem of lack of familiarity with reality on ground generating an ineffective and meek response has also been brilliantly highlighted in the note. This kind of genuine and accurate research work identifies the actual issues, thus enabling the policy makers to design a true and more effective answer to lack of gender parity focusing on girl’s education in Balochistan.

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Dear Javed,
Very Weldon for highlighting this sensitive issue of Baluchistan. You have brilliantly summarized the problems girls have been facing in Baluchistan regarding education policies and social barriers. I will further suggest you to mention the win-win strategies of countries who successfully have uplifted the literacy rate in rural areas. I would love to read your next blog. Good Luck

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