PAKISTAN : Empowering tribal girls : A girl with a book symbolises a powerful force for change, yet this doesn't apply in case of girls living in former Fata region.

War and extremism have left the tribal belt, especially girls in tatters.

The Census of 2023 paints a bleak picture of education in the newly merged tribal districts, particularly Bajaur. The female literacy rate in these districts is below 8%, even lower in Bajaur at only 3%.

The population of Bajaur is around 1.3 million, comprising a higher number of girls  [ 170,000  ] than boys.

However, only 40,000 of these girls go to primary schools, and the numbers drastically decline in middle and high schools to 4,500 and 1,450, respectively.

In higher secondary school, it falls further -to only 450. Pathetically Khar Degree College is the only institution offering programmes for girls - BS Islamiat and Botany.

Lack of girls' schools [ only 184 in Bajaur ]  contributes to a rising dropout rate.

In ex-FATA, 93% of the girls are deprived of education. This figure stands at 97% in Bajaur.

This lack of educational facilities for girls triggers gender based problems like violence against women, child marriages, etc.

Cultural taboos also contribute to the decline in girls' education in Bajaur.

The authorities must take immediate steps and launch awareness initiatives in tribal areas and provide incentives to families so as to encourage them to send their daughters to schools.

The World Students Society thanks Umair Khan, Bajaur Salarzai.


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