QUETTA: A World Bank mission now on a visit to Balochistan for assessing pace of development over Balochistan education support programme (BESP) called on the Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi on Wednesday. The World Bank had provided twenty-two million dollars for the programme which is being implemented through Balochistan Education Foundation. Balochistan Education Foundation was set up by the Government of Balochistan in 1994 for strengthening private sector provision of education and raising the standard of education in the province.
The mission informed the Governor about their visit of Schools running under Balochistan education support programme and expressed their satisfaction over the pace of work on it. Talking to the members of the mission, the Governor lauded their support for the promotion of primary education in the province and expressed the hope that they will continue their support in future also.
According to the website of Balochistan Education Foundation the key objective of the project is the promotion of public-private and community partnerships in order to improve access to quality primary education, in particular for girls. The project contributes to Pakistan’s long-term objective of achieving MDG Goals by targeting universal literacy, gender parity in education, and 100% net enrolment. The project would not overlap other on going Education projects in Balochistan but would supplement these projects in attaining MDGs.
Justification and existing facilities: Balochistan has a population of approximately 7.8 million people i.e. 5% of total population of Pakistan but spread over 45% of land area of the country. Mostly the population of the province lives in small and dispersed rural settlements with only 24 % urban population. According to the Balochistan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2003), eight of the ten most deprived districts in Pakistan are located in Balochistan. While there has been some improvement in the enrolment rates in recent years, Balochistan continues to lag behind other provinces in education service delivery. Gross enrolment rates in primary education in Balochistan have improved from 62% in 2001-2 to 67% in 2004-05 as against an average of 72% and 86% respectively in the country.
Low and declining net enrollment in primary education: National survey statistics for Balochistan show that Primary Net Enrolment Rate (NER) has increased only marginally from 36% in 1998-9 to 37% in 2004-05 after showing a decline in 2001-02 to 32%. Over this period net enrolment rates have shown an alarming lack of progress for both boys (44% in 1998-99, 39% in 2001-02, 44% in 2004-05) and girls (28% in 1998-99, 24% in 2001-02, and 29% in 2004-05). About one quarter (24 %) of children at primary school age (5-9) years in Balochistan were enrolled in primary school (Excluding katchi class) during the year 2002-3. The net enrollment rate is less than 32 % reported in the PIHS 2001. As per MICS 2004 Balochistan, there is an absolute difference in NER for boys (28 %) as compared to girls (20 %).-SANA