How an education campaign in Balochistan is doing what the state failed to do

But the education predicament Awaran faces is only exacerbated by just how low the standard of living in the district is; and how oblivious the rest of the country is to the plight of those who reside in Awaran

For instance, in May 2018, hundreds of residents of Tranchik, a village situated in Awaran, suffered from severe gastroenteritis, which resulted in the deaths of at least six people

Because of the dilapidated healthcare system in Awaran, most of the patients had to be shifted to Hub for treatment

This case is only emblematic of the host of issues plaguing the region

Given the condition of the district, Rakhshani believes that the primary aim of the BES campaign is to highlight the plight of government schools in Awaran since the situation is representative of a wider education crisis being faced by the province as a whole

 In light of this, Rakhshani hopes that the BES campaign can help capture the attention of the concerned departments and authorities and force them to take action

The existence of ghost-schools and widespread corruption in the education department has led to the need for citizens like Rakhshani to launch their own private initiatives

While Balochistan Minister for Secondary and Higher Education Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind has stated that his “first priority is to identify ghost teachers, schools and employees in the education department” and has requested the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate corruption cases, it is evident that the province desperately needs a long-term education plan

Reportedly, Rs 43 billion have been allocated for education for this fiscal year, while there are already plans in place to build more than a 100 schools across various parts of the province

However, the state must realise that buliding new schools is pointless if the existing ones are not being used adequately

As has been made evident by the BES campaign, this is a matter of using existing resources in a constructive manner rather than just chucking money at the province in the hope that the issue will remedy itself

The BES campaign revealed a few months ago that 60 schools which were shut in Awaran had still been receiving state funding

According to Rakhshani, “Even the condition of these schools is pathetic, despite the fact that the Secondary Education Department had released an amount of over Rs 30 million for ensuring availability of reading and writing material, mats, uniforms, scientific equipment and furniture

” While the situation may appear grim, the BES campaign has been steadily working to help improve the situation in the region through a variety of initiatives

 With the support of the local administration, Rakhshani and his team organised the first ever Awaran Education and Literature Festival last week

The event provided a platform for a discussion about a variety of topics, including the education crisis, the importance of educating women in order to ensure communal progress, and the significance of artistic contribution in any society

Hence, the widespread success of the festival helped shun many of the stereotypes associated with Balochistan in general and Awaran in particular

Firstly, the event was arranged by the citizens and well attended by the masses, proving that the people of the region are eager to support such initiatives

Secondly, while many living outside of Balochistan only have negative connotations associated with the region, the festival helped dispel certain security related myths, showing that a large scale event can be conducted in the region without any issues

Hence, the BES initiative has not only brought the mismanagement in the education sector into the limelight but is also actively working towards uplifting the community as a whole

But the diligent work being done under such campaigns does not absolve the state of its responsibly to provide for the masses

While we must applaud the work being done by Rakhshani and his team, we must also hold the relevant authorities accountable for their repeated failures

Date:30-Jan-2020 Reference:View Original Link