Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan vowed that his party would adopt effective measures for better education of girls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Addressing a conference in January 2014, Khan had said that weak women couldn’t be able to get their rights; hence education is very necessary for them.
“We have to focus earnestly on girls’ education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This is our number-one priority. And once a female gets education she automatically knows about her due rights,” Khan had said.
An uneducated female, he said could not benefit from any legislation and there is need to strengthen rule of law to empower women and ensure their rights.
In addition, he said that efforts be made to ensure women rights in inheritance, which is a big problem in Pakistan.
Truth Tracker tried repeatedly to contact Muhammad Atif, provincial education minister, who neither returned the phones calls nor the text messages.
However, Mohammad Arif, a PTI lawmaker and standing committee chairman on elementary and secondary education department, said of course, it was the PTI’s catchphrase to reform the education and health sectors in KP.
“Working on education sector was among our top most priorities,” Arif reiterated.
A formula, he recalled was agreed upon to build 70% female schools and rest 30% male educational institutions and “our government was to strictly stick to that commitment,” he recalled.
“Schools have been built on the same 70% and 30% ratio for female and males students respectively,” he noted.
Let him quote as an example to depict the deteriorated education during the previous governments, he recalled that only 70 female teachers were hired in the last 16 years in his constituency.
“In my constituency, there were 16 closed or non functional female schools and by the grace of almighty, we have appointed 96 female teachers and now there is not a single closed school today in Shabqadar region,” Arif added.
Arif claimed that the second achievement of the PTI-led government is that talented teachers have been hired purely on merit basis, and that is the reason that education is thriving in the province today.
“I personally think that unprecedented work has been done with tandem in the education sector,” he observed.
Malik Riaz, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (F), said that PTI has a long list of promises for a better tomorrow but unfortunately he didn’t see any changes in any sector of the province.
On Khan’s pledge to shift more focus to enhance girls education in the province, Riaz said he didn’t notice any surge in female education or a specific effort to promote girls education.
“The same old things and governance system are going ahead with snail’s pace and I neither observed nor expect any change in girls’ education in KP,” he noted.
He said that PTI has countless promises with voters but none of them seems implemented in letter and spirit.
Sahibzada Sanaullah, another MPA from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), noted that he found only one new girls primary school during the last two years being built by the sitting government.
If a judge or an independent observer wants to know about PTI overall performance and role in promoting of girls education, then one should go and see for himself/herself the state of education in remote districts of the province.
“Not only girls’ but overall education in the far-flung areas is virtually in shambles,” he added.
Main Ziau Rehman, an MPA from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said the PTI has pledged to improve girls’ education but he didn’t observe any extraordinary step taken by the provincial government in education sector.
According to the constitution of Pakistan, Rehman said free education is the right of every child. He suggested that efforts should be made to ensure that every child is going to school not only in urban and populated areas but in remote parts of the province too.
For example, he suggested the PTI should build a school if there are 40 children living in a village in inaccessible area, which would help surge overall literacy rate of the country.
On girls education, Sayed Jaffar Shah, a noted MPA from Awami National Party (ANP), said everyone knows that health and education sectors were among the top priorities of PTI.
“But today doctors are on strike in the province where patients are facing acute problems in every hospital,” he remarked.
Referring to girls’ education, Shah recalled that only 19 primary schools have been completed since last four years, which depicts the poor performance of the PTI amid tall claims to bolster education.
Neither any new college nor a university can be established in the province with the exception of cadet colleges, he noted. “I fear, the province is in reverse gear in terms of development,” he added.
When contacted for comments as an independent observer on the PTI’s promise to promote girls education in KP, Shamim Shahid, a Peshawar based senior journalist, said that they (PTI) have opened one female university in Swabi district and another girls cadet college in Mardan district.
However, he said that PTI has tall claims to promote education but “I personally observe that private education has made unprecedented progress during the PTI tenure.”
After four long years, he said the PTI-led government has formed a regulatory authority to control private educational institutions and during those years private education has spurred in the province.
“The sitting government has given free hand to private education because most of the PTI MPAs are owners of the private educational institutions. Hence, the private education has witnessed considerable development comparatively,” he remarked.
“I think female education sector has not been given due attention the way it was expected or deserved,” Shahid added.
The PTI claims regarding promotion of education sector in KP is exaggerated while the ground realities are totally different, he observed.
Keeping in view the remarks and viewpoints of ruling, opposition lawmakers and independent analyst, Truth Tracker rules the PTI has broken yet another promise regarding Khan’s commitment to adopt effective measures for better education of girls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.