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Tribalism and weak education system of Balochistan

By: Rafiullah

Education is in shabby condition in Balochistan since the inception of Pakistan. According to Pakistan social and living standard measurement survey (PSLM) conducted by Pakistan statistics bureau (PSB), literacy rate of Balochistan has dropped by 3% in the year 2013-2014. 70% girls are dropped out of school. Female literacy rate is 25%. Despite the increment in education budget from 8% to 24%, declaration of education emergency and establishment of new primary and secondary schools and colleges why still Balochistan has worse education system and least literacy rate, especially with respect to female literacy?

Answer to the question lies in the fact that the main cause for the least literacy and low caliber education is not the lack of government efforts, lack of educational institutions and poverty, surely they do contribute to the backwardness of the province but the real root cause is the patriarchal parochial tribal system. Ethos like conservatism, honor and respect play the role of shackles which prevent female from getting education. That is why female literacy rate is 25% as compare to male literacy rate which is 55%.

Some people do not believe that tribal system is the obstacle in the way of education. They argue that a lot of people pursue their education despite the fact they hail from tribal societies. I partly agree with them but that are from those societies where tribal elites became weak or tribal structure has developed over the time. But still in the very same societies females are prohibited from getting education due to the code of honor and they consider it against their honor to send their female members out of home to get western education. There is probability that they are allowed to get primary education but impossible to send them out of local city to other cities for higher education. That is why female literacy rate is very low as compared to the male literacy rate.

It is common sense that everyone is pursuing his/her own benefits. Survival is greatest necessity of the human beings. If education is a danger and threat to the dominant influence of a tribal chief then how will he be promoting it? No one wants to dig his own grave by himself.

Tribal elites are usually wealthy people of any society. They support those families who are living below the poverty line. The objective of this favor is to render them more and more dependent on elites of the society. Though apparent massage of this kindness is to build a benevolent soft image in the society. It is the common sense that all parents desire to provide quality education to their progeny. Some do it but others do not. The major obstruction in the trajectory of education is the lack of finance. Here lies the critical point that is why tribal elites do not support them financially despite having the potential to do so?

Most of the people in tribal societies are so molded that they do not even think about the education as a part and parcel of their lives. There are also two reasons behind the lack of interest in the education. First is the poverty, they are worried about their livelihood. So there main concentration and job is to provide an employment to their children so that they may contribute in the income of home. Second reason is the lack of importance of education. Tribal elites are responsible for the second reason for they are the ones in the tribal structure who know about the importance of education and also send their off springs to quality and high profile universities and abroad too. It was their responsibility to establish schools in their concerned area and abet financially those talented students who are unable to afford the huge expenses of education. But regretfully, they don’t because it is not a profitable job for them instead cause damage to their influence. They are afraid of the creative destruction which will emerge in these tribal societies due to education. Therefore it is their utmost struggle to provide everything but education.

Tribal structure, norms and values are strictly against the coeducation, nay, they are against even the female education. Some people argue that tribal structure allows coeducation; there is no such thing like prohibiting and proscribing female education and coeducation. Let me tell those people that if such is the case then why the female literacy rate is lower than male literacy rate? And also tell me why those people who migrated to big cities from tribal area permit their female members to get education? Certainly, it is the structure, the environment which eggs on, the residents towards particular activities. It is said that do in Rome as the Romans do. Same is the case here, if people migrate from big cities to tribal societies, would they be sending their female members to get education? Surely no, for “Do in Rome as the Romans do” and second there is no arrangements for the females to get education. So it is the structure that defines the red zones and constraints for its residents. There are precedents of the families that are commuted to the cities just for the sole purpose to get rid of the tribal restraints and constraints, and let their progeny without any discrimination to get education.

Problem can be solved only when its cause is known. Without knowing the cause of an issue, solving the issue is like putting cart before the horse, as we explain the difficulties and problems faced by the education system of Balochistan. The reason behind the least literacy rate in the whole country is also explained and particularly the reason behind the least female literacy rate. Tribal system and the tribal leaders are the root causes of the deteriorated education system.


Rafiullah hails from District Lorali, Balochistan. Currently he is doing  BS Political science  from Quaid e Azam university Islamabad.
Published in The Balochistan Point on February 18, 2017
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