It is the dream of every parent to send their children to school. In Pakistan, there are a lot of social and cultural barriers in female education. The purpose of the paper was to trace and highlight the hindrances in the provision of female education in rural areas of Sind, Pakistan. This is the story of a girl Shehzadi, of eight years old belonged to rural area of Pakistan, which came for domestic works with her mother to the neighboring home Domestic labor of women is very common and cheap in their area. But this income is found to be an important factor in determining access to education. There is need of the change in the value system from traditional to modern for the development of female education.
Once I was in need of additional help for arranging a function at my home. So, I asked my housemaid Nusrat to come at my home in the evening and help me out. But on that day maid did not show up. Hence, I set out her home which is near to my home, to bring with her with me.
When I entered her house I saw she and her husband Umer were quarrelling. Her husband was shouting with anger. Seeing this, I was about to get out of her house but by that time she had noticed my presence and hence she asked me to stay. She told me that she wanted to send her daughter Shehzadi to schools that she avoids the same fate as hers. But, her husband was not in favor of their daughter’s going to school. And right now they were bitterly arguing with each other on the same issue.
Her husband’s point of view was that there was no custom of educating the women in his family. And he was afraid of opposition of the other members of his clan in case of his daughter’s attending a school. But, my Nusrat argued that he elder brother of her husband is educating his daughters because he is intermediate and working as a clerk and living separately because he does want to make his children like our clan has. If he can take this step and educate his daughters so why could not his younger brother follow his example. She told me that her two sons started to go to primary school but left the school soon due to financial crises and works on different shop to help their father. She further told me that two of her elder daughters met the same fate and now working as maids in the neighboring houses. The third and last daughter Shehzadi is much interested in acquiring education but the family tradition does not allow her to do so. Nusrat was determined to save her third daughter’s from such destiny.
Seeing her passion of her daughter’s education I tried to persuade her husband to let his daughter to go to school. I told him that if his daughter gets educated she will be in a better position to train her children after becoming a mother. He asked me that he is just a labor and get only 250 to 300 rupee per day and Nusrat also but works but they lived hand to mouth. I am not in a position to pay school fee, uniform travel, equipment and other costs of sending my daughter to school. I insisted that school is near to your home, education and course books are free and government also pay stipend to poor students. As far as uniform is concerned I am ready to help you. As a result of my persuasion, her husband promised me that he will think and discuss this matter with his clan.. Someday later Nusrat came to my house happily and told me that her husband has permitted her daughter for taking admission in school. She thanked me a lot and said; now my shehzadi will go to school.
Education is a basic human right and it helps to promote economic growth and human development. Research indicates that direct and indirect schooling costs are important factors in getting child enrolled and attend the school. Fortunately, in public sector, education is free in Pakistan. Students get textbooks free of cost from their schools. In most of the areas where schools are at a distance, the fear of insecurity and abduction particularly of girls was expressed. The obvious solution to this is having schools at short distances from home. Social reasons like cultural and religious beliefs, social exclusion, low social positioning, low parental perception, lack of quality education, and toilet facilities for girls in school and security reasons etc. are also restricting girls’ education
Due to financial crises, the male counterparts let their women to do work and help financially, but not let them to go to school. The main reason is might be that their education can play a vital role in enhancing the status of their women and placing them on an equal footing with their male counterparts. In addition, Women empowerment is the main factor in education of women. There are a lot of barriers in way of women’s education in the context of rural areas because in such situation socio-economic status of women will increase and this gives a way to empower their women.
There is need to educate female as well as male to bring the awareness that education does not means empowerment of women, educated mothers can stimulate the educational growth of their offspring in way that they become a useful citizen of the state and can develop a positive attitude in society. There is need of the change in the value system from traditional to modern for the development of female education. It requires a long run policy for the cultural change and development of innovative attitude.
The contributor is a student at Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development.