Education is the right of every human but unfortunately in Pakistan women are still mostly deprived of education. For a strong society the role of an educated woman is very important. Education is the only tool that can break the cycle of abuse, and poverty. 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.
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, 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 per cent 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 per cent of out of school girls are unlikely ever to enroll in schools as compared to 27 per cent of boys in the country. 43 per cent of women faced religious discrimination at workplace, educational institutions and neighbourhood.
Major cause of women illiteracy is the increase in population which is playing a negative role on 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 a source of strength for males of the family, and they are responsible for taking decisions about 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.
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.
The government should develop partnerships with NGOs and private sector to handover 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. An annual survey should be conducted to maintain a check on the progress made. No society can progress by restricting more than half of its population in the depth of ignorance.
MADEEHA SAJID KHAN