Girls' Education Unlocks Future Potential in Pakistan's Balochistan Province

December 21, 2015


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12-year old Zarghony is among the 39,0000 students who have benefitted from the PGEB project in the most remote districts of Balochistan.     

PGEB/MDTF/2014.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Promoting Girls’ Education in Balochistan Project (PGEB) has brought almost 39,000 children into school, including 33,414 girls across Balochistan province in Pakistan.
  • Balochistan government agencies implementing the project followed a well-defined selection criteria for schools, making community partnership a priority, which increased trust by citizens in their institutions.
  • Girls are starting to see a new role model as female teachers have begun to be recruited from their own communities through a competitive and transparent process.

PGEB has improved access to education and retention of children in schools, especially girls, in the remotest parts of Balochistan. This is one of the eleven projects being financed under the KP, FATA and Balochistan Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) set up in 2010 to support the rehabilitation effort in crisis-affected areas.

Context

Balochistan has traditionally ranked lowest among education indicators in Pakistan. The net enrollment rates (NER) for boys and girls at all levels are at least 10% lower than the national average. The indicators for female enrolment are exceptionally poor, especially at the rural level. The NER for girls in rural Balochistan is 33% at the primary level (age 6-10 years), and drops to 7% at the middle school level. Almost 40% of the 22,000 settlements do not have schools.

The vast geographical area and low capacity for education service delivery are key factors.  Almost 9% schools are without any shelter, 57% schools have no drinking water, 46% have no boundary walls, 52% have no electricity, and 29% are without a toilet facility


" Had this school not been built, I would be out of school. My father did not want me to sit outdoors and study. I am happy now, we have a beautiful school, it has a boundary-wall, we can play with our friends and no one can see us from the outside. We now also have water to drink. "

12-year-old Zarghony

Pishin District, Balochistan

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In addition to many new schools being built, shelter-less schools have also been provided with shelter and many others with facilities to enable a safe learning environment for children across Balochistan. 

PGEB/MDTF/2014.

Approach

The Bank has a long-standing relationship with the Balochistan government in education. The Balochistan Education Support Project (BESP), established 649 schools in Balochistan. While BESP adopted a community-driven school development and management model, PGEB set the government as the implementer to support MDTF’s overall objective of building state-citizen trust.

Results

Through this project, the Government rebuilt 123 girls’ schools that were previously shelter less. It also provided missing facilities including toilets, drinking water, boundary walls, solar panels, electricity, blackboards and furniture to 226 girls’ schools. Additionally, 260 new primary schools have been set up with community participation. The teacher attendance rate in these schools is 90%, while the overall retention rate of children in PGEB-supported schools is 86 percent.


" I tried for decades to build a school in the village, made every possible effort but nothing worked out. Our village did not even have basic facilities. Children had to walk 20 kms to get to the nearest school. It was difficult for us to send our girls. Two years ago, PGEB sent a survey team to our village. They mobilized others and thank God, we now have a fully-functional school in the village. Our girls can attend a school that is at our door steps.  "

Noor Muhammad

Villager at Agaria Goth, a remote village in District Lasbela, Balochistan

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Schools were selected through a consultative process ensuring ownership with communities.

 

PGEB/MDTF/2014.

Beneficiary consultations have highlighted that PGEB has helped address some of the barriers to girls’ education. Key factors include the availability of a secure physical space for children and increased teacher attendance, ensured through the efforts of the Parent Teacher School Management Committees (PTSMCs).

Female teachers have been hired from within the community, creating a new role model for girls and influencing perceptions about women’s role in the community. Moreover, the community-driven process of school site selection and the formation of PTMCs has helped communities come together for a common goal. PTMC members have been making efforts to increase enrollment by convincing parents of out-of-school children to send their children to school. Teachers are starting to focus on teaching quality, in an effort to maximise the potential of children who are now able to attend school.

As PGEB has reached out to 39,000 students against a baseline of 29,726 students, across 12 districts in Balochistan, many inspiring stories have emerged from the field.


Voices from the Field

Among them is that of 12-year-old Zarghony. She is the youngest in a family of six and a student of grade five in a girls’ school in Malezai village, in the Pishin District of Balochistan. Through PGEB, three rooms, a boundary wall and water and sanitation facilities were provided to this shelter-less school in this remote village. The school has eighty students.

Zarghonay beams with confidence as she tells her story, ‘My elder sisters could not get an education because at that time, there was no primary school in the village. For me it was difficult too, my school had no facilities, no water, toilet or rooms for 80 girls. Had this school not been built I would be out of school. My father did not want me to sit outdoors and study. I am happy now, we have a beautiful school, it has a boundary-wall, and we can play with our friends. No one can see us from outside, we have water to drink.”

Noor Muhammad’s story is equally inspirational. He lives in Agaria Goth, a remote village in District Lasbela, Balochistan. Noor nurtured a dream of a girls’ school in his village for 25 years.

Recalling the long journey, he says, ‘I tried for decades to build a school in the village, made every possible effort but nothing worked out. Our village did not even have basic facilities. Children had to walk 20 kms to get to the nearest school. It was difficult for us to send our girls. Two years ago, PGEB sent a survey team to our village. They mobilized others and thank God, we now have a fully-functional school in the village. Our girls can attend a school that is at our door steps.’ The school now boasts 30 children, including boys.  

[i] Names have been changed in the interest of security

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39,000
children have been brought back into schools in Balochistan, 33,414 of them girls.