“The past couple of decades have witnessed Government of Balochistan’s efforts to improve education service delivery in the province. Nevertheless, the struggle to effectively serve most marginalized learners particularly girls continues,” said Tayyaba Aurangzeb, Acting Country Director, International Rescue Committee, in a press statement issued by the International Rescue Committee(IRC).
To understand the key barriers to education in Balochistan, particularly for adolescent girls, and identify potential solutions, the International Rescue Committee reached out to key stakeholders and communities. Based on the discussions, the International Rescue Committee published a five-part series of white papers under its Teach and Educate Adolescent Girls with Community Help (TEACH) initiative.
The white papters point to five main challenges that adversely impact girls’ education: insufficient schools, long commute to schools, dearth of female teachers, lack of basic facilities in schools and the absence of gender responsive budgeting. “Each published white paper focused on one fundamental issue facing girls to access education and proposed a set of recommendations,” shared Tayyaba Aurangzeb, Acting Country Director, International Rescue Committee.
On the demand-side coherent awareness raising campaigns to propagate the importance of girls’ education and discourage practices such as early and child marriages can go a long way in improving girls’ access to education as well as their retention in school and completion of post-primary education.
The key supply-side barriers that require immediate rederessal include the provision of basic facilities such as clean water, gender-sensitive health and hygiene facilities, boundary walls, and electricity. Trained female teaching and administrative staff in post-primary schools, and the provision of subject specialist teachers in science and math are also important supply-side considerations that require immediate attention.
Finally, the commencement of second shifts in existing primary schools, up-gradation of existing primary schools, and construction of new post-primary schools for girls were among the short- and long-term solutions presented in International Rescue Committee’s white papers. Ms. Aurangzeb added, “A coherent gender-sensitive approach to education service delivery will be needed that addresses demand- and supply-side barriers to girls’ education through a variety of innovative strategies to ensure that the access, quality and retention concerns are resolved.”
International Rescue Committee’s TEACH initiative is designed to overcome prominent barriers to education for girls in Balochistan. TEACH also aims to raise nationwide awareness about binding constraints that continue to deprive more than 13 million girls across Pakistan of their right to education.