Access and Equity

Balochistan has the weakest access indicators in the country . The performance owes to structural problems on the supply and demand side. On the supply side schooling expansion has failed to accommodate the demographic realities of the province, accepted the drop out structure of the province by continued low supply beyond primary and has not focused on effective utilization across the various schools. On the demand side economic factors combine with social barriers to prevent progress of children in the school system. The sector plan factors both demand and supply side issues for low access. It uses Article 25A of the Constitution of Pakistan as the vision for access and equity (and quality) in education. This section presumes parallel improvement in quality as poor standards of education and resultant outcomes play a critical role in eroding demand side confidence in schooling.

8.1.1. Current Situation


Access issues manifest in three dimensions: overall the NER for the province has risen but remains low as compared to the rest of the country, gender gaps are at their widest and large sets of populations have no schools as the size of their dwellings do not ‘justify’ investment in a school. Poor infrastructure hamper travel to schools, while poverty and, in many cases, social tradition prevent schooling. The latter mostly applies to female education or at least its continuation beyond primary level.

Figure 8.1: NER Trend 2004-11

The issue of gender is depicted in figure 8.2 which describes the percentage of female to enrolment to total enrolment across the 82 sub divisions (known as Tehsil). As can be seen the bulk of these have less than 50% female enrolment.

Figure 8.2: Gender Enrolment Gap

The wide gender gaps depict lower school availability for females as well as attitudinal barriers to female education.

The unsatisfactory access and equity position stems from both internal inefficiency of the system which leads to high drop outs (or low retention) and low levels of school availability. The high drop outs are caused by both factors internal to the schools as well as external demand side problems including poverty and social attitudes. Limited school availability has been caused by a failure to consider the demographic situation. Low population density in a large geographic unit poses a unique expansion challenge for Balochistan as compared to the rest of Pakistan. The current school building criterion excludes a number of settlements with low populations as the rules consider population within a radius for feasibility, which excludes a number of dwellings in the province.

School availability is further limited by ‘upward bottlenecks’ created by drastic reduction of the number of schools at the middle and secondary levels leading to exclusion of many children, especially, girls. Presently the province has 961 middle schools and 663 secondary schools with 660 middle sections. The next imbalance appears in the high to higher secondary levels. The secondary education department runs only one higher secondary school, the 62 intermediate and 35 graduate colleges have 97 higher secondary options for children. The residential and cadet colleges have the rest, excluding private sector and federal schools enrolments.

The situation on limited availability of middle and secondary schools has to be evaluated in conjunction with the current utilization. High drop outs or low retention rates have resulted in cost inefficiencies.

The average annual expenditure at the various levels remains high at Rs. 8,550 for primary, Rs. 15,595 for middle and Rs. 14,717 at secondary. In contrast the average private school charges Rs. 2400 to Rs. 4800 per year.

The range of annual costs for the government schools for level is given in the table below:

Highest expenditure at primary level is of district Quetta Rs. 17,991 and the lowest is in Chagai at Rs. 3,121. For middle, Dera Bugti has the highest Rs.35,704 and Kech lowest, Rs.7,267 and secondary, Chagai has the lowest Rs.9,094 and Sherani the highest Rs. 27,204 per capita expenditure.

Improved utilization of schools requires an effective non-formal education system that provides a second opportunity to ‘drop out’ and ‘left out’ students. At present the provincial government has no financial provision for Alternate Learning Paths, officially in the domain of the Social Welfare Department. The main intervention in Alternate Learning Paths has been provided by the federally run National Education Foundation (NEF). The Implementation Committee for the 18th Amendment had dissolved the organization but the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered its continuation and now, after an uncertainty period, the NEF is expected to revive operations.

A key problem with NEF has been its inability to link its effort to mainstream schools (or the work of the Directorate of Schools. No documentation traces the education path of students enrolled in NEF schools, after they leave. Also the current system only targets children for primary school re-enrolment and not higher levels. The Directorate of Education has also never proactively pursued coordination with NEF.
8.1.2. Strategic Objective(s)
The strategic objectives for access (similar to quality) have been derived from Article 25A of the Constitution of Pakistan, which subsumes EFA and MDGs. Article 25A states:

“The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law”

As already described the attainment of the goal will require improvements in all aspects of education delivery including efforts to improve access and equity. While the vision of the article may not be achieved for at least the next ten years the BESP already focuses in its direction through the following strategies.

1.	Improve enrolment and retention of children in schools.
2.	Enhance internal efficiency of existing schools.
3.	Remove gender gaps prevalent in the current situation.
4.	Mainstream marginalised groups into regular education system

Increased enrolment and retention of the children in school with elimination of the current inequities faced by marginalized groups including females.


8.1.3. Overall Targets
Goal: To ensure access to quality education to every child as per the stipulation of Article 25A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Target: Reduce Out of School Children by 30% over the plan period 2013-17


8.1.4. Strategies:
Strategies to improve enrolment and retention include both demand and supply side interventions. On the supply side the focus is on:

1.	Spread schooling opportunities by horizontal Expansion to dwellings without schools
	through the community schools model. 
2.	Improve utilization of existing schools through increased enrolment
3.	Vertical Expansion through up-gradation of primary and middle school to middle and 
	high school respectively.
4.	Retrieve and mainstream dropped out children through improving the effectiveness of 
	non-formal education.
	

On the demand side the main strategies are:

1.	Reduce economic barriers to enrolment and retention of children through 
	providing incentives to parents and children for attending school. 
2.	Minimise attitudinal barriers to female education through awareness campaigns. 

The prioritization of these strategies may be reviewed at the district level depending on degree of functionality of the education sector. The latter may be interpreted in terms of school availability, current utilization and social attitudes.
1. Increase in number of classrooms in primary school
As seen in Table 7.1 only 4% of the primary schools have more than 2 rooms. As a first priority schools with less than two rooms should be upgraded to meet requisite standards. In the long run all primary schools should be five room buildings.
2. Horizontal Expansion to locations without schools
The sector plan, in line with the requirements of Article 25A, advocates provision of education opportunities to all children in every settlement irrespective of the size of the settlement. To enable effective horizontal expansion the current parameters for identifying feasibility of school locations will have to be amended to accommodate the demographic realities.

Secondly as provision of services in low population density areas entails high per capita expenditure and expansion of education facilities to all settlements will raise the resource requirements to unsustainable levels if strategies fail to break out of the tradition approaches. The traditional approach of ‘standard school models’ will have to be revoked and move towards more cost effective options.

The sector plan recommends the ‘community school approach’ for expansion as so far it has been the best ‘low cost’ model implemented in the province. The approach has the following characteristics:

a.	Building provided by the community
b.	Local teacher hired and, if required, lower qualification criteria. 
c.	Training of teachers
d.	Monitoring through community

In subsequent phases of the sector plan process more innovative approaches may be introduced.

Information on settlements has not been updated since the last population census in 1998. Updating information on settlements will be cost intensive. For the initial phase local knowledge may be used for prioritization settlements. Prioritization itself will be based on a locally agreed criterion.

As wide gaps continue to exist between female and male schools and enrolments girls’ schools will be prioritized.
3. Up-gradation of Schools
The imbalance of middle-primary and secondary-middle levels also limits opportunities for many children, especially girls, in continuation of education. In the specific demographic structure of Balochistan the ratios need to be higher than in a more densely populated region. The sector plan recommends a ratio of 1:3 for middle-primary and 1:2 for secondary to middle. Here also girls schools should be upgraded as a priority.
4. Improved utilization of current schools
The sector plan recommends increased focus on improvements in utilization of existing schools, especially, in districts with high per capita expenditures. Upgradation in these districts without improvements in current utilization may be financially unfeasible Increased enrolment to improve efficiency will be possible only through a combination of demand and supply side interventions. In case of the latter a monitoring mechanism on utilization will have to be created while the head teachers, district authorities and community will be involved in increasing enrolment and retention.
5. Effective Alternate Learning Pathways
To achieve targets of Article 25A in minimum possible time out of school children will need to be provided opportunities to enter the formal school system. A strong non-formal education system will assist in achievement of the targets.

The sector plan recommends formal coordination between the NEF and functional Literacy and Alternate Learning Paths Directorate (DLALP) and the Directorate of Schools to develop a strategy for ensuring that the NEF schools do not poach children from formal schools through provision of incentives and also the children from ALP eventually mainstream into the formal schools.

The sector plan also recommends a non formal sector of the DOS itself. Initially it should focus on levels not currently covered by the NEF and the DLALP i.e the middle and secondary levels.
6. Minimise Economic Barriers
Both direct and opportunity costs impact access to education. The latter becomes more significant as the child grows and becomes ‘employable’. The Government of Balochistan already covers the cost of textbooks and no fees are charged. Stationary and transport costs continue to be borne by the family. Also students appearing in secondary examinations have to pay fees to Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.

While the final definition of free education will depend on the decision of the provincial assembly as and when it promulgates the law on compulsory education. Initially, the sector plan recommends the following:

a.	Stipends for middle level girls in the 10 poorest districts.
b.	One school meal at the primary level with eventual expansion to middle and higher levels.

7. Awareness on Removal of Social Barriers

Females face the brunt of social barriers to education, especially, as they move beyond the primary age. While large parts of society all over Balochistan support female education, the barriers in certain areas and societies have impeded progress of the girl child. The Sector Plan recommends a study on these attitudes and preparation of an awareness programme for change in attitudes.

8.2. Inclusive Education

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All children outside the domain of mainstream education need to be included into the education process. Most of the interventions above can be part of an inclusive education approach. For reasons of convenience and special focus the current section of the sector plan focuses on the marginalized groups in two categories: the disabled and the Afghan Refugees in the province.
8.2.1. Current Situation
Inclusive education concepts have never been applied to education in schools. There Is very limited understanding of the concept across teachers, administrators and senior bureaucracy of education in the province. For most personnel in the education sector the concept is limited to ‘special children’ for whom only a handful of special education institutions (mostly in Quetta) run the sector for handicapped children.

The gaps in comprehension of inclusive education permeate not only the teachers’ approach in the classroom it is applied in a limited way in textbooks and examinations. School building standards do not cater to requirements of inclusiveness. In 2005 all provincial and federal governments signed a National document called ‘Islamabad Declaration on Inclusive Education’. It called for the following:

“Ensure that all children regardless of gender, abilities, disabilities and socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds:

•	are treated with dignity and respect;
•	have equal access to education, health services, work and all other aspects of life;
•	are enabled to develop their full academic, physical, emotional and
•	social potential;
•	have access to learning material in appropriate media and technical
•	devices; and
•	develop confidence in their own abilities, skills and future prospects.

The declaration also called for preparation of provincial plans. Neither the plans materialized nor were the concepts absorbed into the education sectors of the provinces, including, Balochistan.
National Education Policy 2009 also iterated a similar objective:
“To equalize access to education through provision of basic facilities for girls and boys alike, under‐privileged/marginalized groups and special children and adults.”

Again the situation on ground remained unchanged. In view of the above low base of understanding the BESP has limited its objectives more towards comprehension and attitudinal changes and less towards expansion.

Balochistan is a diverse province with multiple ethnicities, high levels of poverty and gender gaps. In recent years violence has been seen in parts of the province and in some cases specific communities have been on the receiving end, especially, in terms of sectarian attacks. While conflict creates its own marginalization as it leads to movement of people, exclusion due to threat of violence and a general attitude of intolerance inclusive education concepts in the province will also need to look at attitudes that provoke such violence in the first place.

8.2.2. Strategic Objective(s)

The Sector Plan recommends three interventions.

1.	Changes in attitudes of teachers and administrators towards inclusive education. 
2.	Changes in school environment
3.	Highlighting the marginalised in society and preparing an inclusiveness strategy. 
4.	Initiating a process of including children with special needs into regular schools to the extent possible. 
5.	Expansion of facilities for special children who cannot be accommodated into normal schools. 

8.2.3. Strategies:

i.	Promote inclusive education in Balochistan through creating awareness and understanding 
	and expansion and improvement of service delivery for inclusive education.
ii.	Train teachers and education administrators on concepts of inclusive education. 
iii.	Undertake a study to highlight education related and other issues of marginalised groups
		in the community. 
iv.	Use the study to review educational inputs and processes. 
v.	Target 1000 primary, 100 middle and 50 high schools for comprehensive introduction in the 
	initial phase

8.3. Disaster Risk Reduction

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Disaster Risk Reduction issues were first identified in the National Education Policy 2009 in the aftermath of the massive earthquake of 2005, in AJK, KP and parts of Punjab. It has since been an issue in different education forums and despite many other disaster (and conflict situations) no province has streamlined and institutionalized policy on the DRR. Current efforts are mostly reactive and undertaken with the support of external partners
8.3.1. Current Situation
Based on the history of the province Balochistan faces three high risk disaster situations: earthquakes, water related emergencies and conflict (leading to law and order break down in some parts).

The province is located in a seismic zone and has had a history of serious earthquakes with the most devastating episode taking place in 1935. In recent years the most high impact earthquake was in 2008 which shook the districts of Ziarat, Pishin and Bolan badly. These shocks resulted in the affected communities shifting to safer places or reside in camps. All this impacted education of the children till the affected communities were resettled permanently.

The province has seen two extreme water related calamities. The first one was a drought which started in the later 1990s and continued till the early 2000s and secondly floods which have been a recurrent feature in the areas covered by the Indus river. Both the floods and droughts disturbed the population of the affected areas. They not only rendered the population homeless and migrant but also brought disease and psycho social problems. The education of the affected areas was almost demolished.

The third critical issue has been a conflict in some of the districts and a general law and order situation that has made travelling less safe. The education system has sustained great loss due to frequent strikes, wheel jams and shutouts. A large number of teachers have migrated from rural areas to district head quarters and particularly to Quetta. The targeted families, who are already very poor, cannot continue the education of their children. The teachers are scared of the shooters and kidnapers for ransom and avoid going to school. Their absence and irregularity adversely affects the quality of education. The children also avoid going to schools. This situation has also affected the economy of the communities and poverty has risen.
8.3.2. Strategic Objective(s)

1.	Develop and institutionalize a DRR policy for education in Balochistan
2.	Create awareness among all the stakeholders regarding causes events and 
	effects of various kinds of disasters.
	

8.3.3. Strategies

1.	Assess and document the current disaster potential and its implications.
2.	Prepare DRR plan for risk prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
3.	Evaluate current capacity to implement a DRR plan. 
4.	Prepare a capacity development plan for enhancement of DRR responsiveness. 

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