Proposed closure of SBK-Khuzdar an assault on female education

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By Mah Gul Bizenjo 

The promotion of female education has proved to be indispensable for the development and prosperity of any society. Unicef regards girl’s education as the lifeline of development and growth of any nation. Leaving the women uneducated in the journey of sustainable development
will be a mistake beyond repair.

Pakistan is making positive strides to improve women’s literacy. However, currently, the picture of female literacy is quite grim in the country. Pakistan’s female literacy rate is among the lowest in the world covering only 45% female against 69% male. The story of female struggle for education in
Pakistan is replete with hardships and complexities.

Among all the four provinces, Balochistan depicts the worst struggle when it comes to women education with a female literacy rate of 25% only. Considering the educational scenario of Khuzdar (second biggest city of Balochistan), it has an alarming female literacy ratio of 14% only. The city has never seen a single female higher education institute until 2017. Ironically it is not only
true for Khuzdar but for the whole of Kalat division.

Being cultural and tribal society, the local population has been reluctant to send their daughters to a coeducation university, hence, compelling the females to leave their academic activities in the middle of nowhere. Whereas, just like any other part of the world, this region also needs to prepare its ground for development by establishing higher education and deep rooting women’s education. In the auspicious year of 2017, the people of khuzdar found this dream materialized in the form of the duration of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, sub-campus Khuzdar (SBK-Khuzdar).

For the first time the local people found their cultural values harmonized with women’s education in the form of SBK-Khuzdar university dedicated to female education. To date, one batch of Bachelor and Master level students have passed out from the university and the second is about to accomplish as well. But just in the fourth year of its existence, a committee formed by Baluchistan government has recommended to shut down this university along with Vocational Educational
Women Collage and handover their buildings to Jahlawan Medical Collage.

It is worth mentioning here that the building of Jahlawan Medical Collage is under
construction and the university are temporarily functional in the Vocational College.
On the other hand, SBK-Khuzdar is properly taking courses for four years.
Therefore, in terms of progress and functionality, it will not be justice to ruin the
progress of SBK-Khuzdar and shut it for an institute that is yet to be started.

Moreover, being the maiden and only female university, its demand and need are
established without any question in the region. However, observing the dearth of
educational institutes in khuzdar, Shaheed Sikander University should also be
constructed to provide sufficient educational facilities to the youth of Balochistan.
SBK-Khuzdar has already reached some significant milestones to strengthen its
cause of existence. Currently, 220 students are enrolled in the university, excluding
one batch which has already passed out from the university.

Education is being provided in four departments, namely, English, Education, Islamic Studies and
Computer Science. It has received a no-objection certificate by Higher Education
Commission (HEC) of Pakistan approving its need and sustainability in the region.
A land of 150 arcs has also been approved for the campus along with its tender for
construction.

The recommendation of the official committee to shut down this progressing university is an invitation to political instigation of the local people against the government. Whereas, the existing trust deficit in Balochistan has come to be an open secret now.

Therefore, the government should review its decision and recommendations on
shutting down SBK-Khuzdar university to win the ts and minds of people and pave the way for an educated Balochistan.

Mahgul Bizenjo is an alumni BUITEMS and completed a Master in Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy with Dean’s medal from University Technology Malaysia. Currently she is serving as a lecturer in BUET Khuzdar. She tweets under @BizenjoMahgul

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