Education is the right of every human but unfortunately in Pakistan women are still deprived of education. For a prosperous society a role of an educated woman is very important. Education is the only tool that can break this intergenerational cycle of oppression, abuse, and poverty of women. It has the power to transform societies. Educated women are more aware of their rights. A greater participation of educated women in the economy and political process would lead to a better world today as well as future generations.
Today, Pakistan is far from meeting its international education obligations. One in ten of the world’s primary age children who are not in schools live in Pakistan, placing Pakistan second in the global ranking of out-of-school children. According to UNESCO, meanwhile 30 percent of Pakistanis live in extreme educational poverty having received less than two years of education.
In Pakistan, there are about 19.5 million children of primary age group, out of which 6.8 million are out of school and 60 percent of these are females. At least, seven million children are not in primary schools. That’s around as many people as live in the city of Lahore. Three million will never see the inside of a classroom at all.
In Pakistan, girls face some of the highest barriers in education. It has been estimated that nearly 62 percent of out of school girls are unlikely ever to enrol in schools as compared to 27 percent of boys in the country. 43 percent of women faced religious discrimination at workplace, educational institutions and neighbourhood. Pakistan is committed to spending at least 4 percent of GDP on education.
Major cause of women illiteracy is the increase in population, which is playing a negative role in this deprivation of female education. A family having more number of children and less income will prefer to educate the boys of the family, while the girls will be given embroidery or sewing skills.
Traditionally, women are considered as an asset of males of the family. So these males are responsible for taking decisions of their lives. In most cases, males do not allow their sisters or daughters to go to schools or universities. Additionally, some families do not like their daughters to study in co-education institutes thus depriving them of higher education. Parents do not want girls’ education.
Co-education is not acceptable in an Islamic country. The courses for women should include subjects relating to their needs in life: beliefs, rituals, domestic duties and rights, raising children, solution of domestic problems, rules of Purdah, nursing, home economics, budget, sewing, embroidery, industrial skills such as carpet, poultry, preservation of food and so on.
Every government talks about the importance of female education but none of them has given attention to it. In Multan, the plan of a separate women university and women medical college was announced yet these plans have not seen the light of the day.
Initial step is the decentralisation of decision-making, which means government should develop partnerships with NGOs and the private sector to hand over responsibility effectively to achieve universal primary education. It can improve education administration.
The most important factor in improving education in Pakistan is to spread awareness amongst the rural population about the necessity of education for girls. Then annual research should be conducted to compare figures and to learning achievement across schools, districts and regions over time.
Last but not the least, no society can progress by restricting more than half of its population in the abyss of ignorance and a maze of undue limits. If Pakistan followed the path forged by other pioneers of education reforms, it could expect to start seeing results within two years.