Examining child labour in Balochistan
By: Ali Jan Maqsood
An issue which is troubling the Baloch nation for a long time is child labour which is yet not resolved. We find children leaving school and joining a local garage, workshop, store or something else to earn enough for their families. Some people send their children in labour work despite the presence of elders in the family and some send in compulsion. But mostly I witness the ones who have elder brothers and even father. But they show no mercy for their children and instead of sending them to schools, they send in garages.
I got confused confronting a child of age 7, working in a Zarang car (A local car which is mostly used in transportation business). The most shocking thing for me at that very moment was that he was working with his elder brother who was nearly 25 years old. The 7-year-old was out of school. Despite the presence of his elder brother who was yet unmarried, the smallest brother aged 7 had to leave school and join his elder brother in work. It makes one think, what the core reasons could be.
Well, the root of child labour has spread in all other cities of Balochistan province as well. A large number of children from the province are out of school. According to a recent report, in Balochistan there are nearly 12,000 governmental schools in which primary, middle and high sections are included. Surprisingly, more than 7,000 schools are classless, nearly 2,000 do not have teachers.
Only we can find nearly 1,200 schools where the educational facilities are better. But unfortunately in these schools, teachers are present without any good preparation for the classes, corporal punishment is allowed though the government has forbidden it. With this a number of students leave their studies.
Through my personal experience, I remember, we were 60 while I was in class 5th, in class 6th the number of my classmates was 50. In class 9th while I changed my school, I had 65 classmates, but as we reached grade 10th, we were only 45. And now in college I just have 25 classmates from my school. Unfortunately, I have met with all of them who left their studies and now work in garages, workshops and few have got a job of peon. This is the result of the mismanagement of the educational system.
Furthermore, the foundation of child labour has spread in rural areas of Balochistan the most. According to a recent survey, in villages of Balochistan, every second child is a labour. I have my own cousins in villages who are taking part in the incomes of their houses rather than participating in educational fields. They are unaware of importance of education. The educational system in villages is next to nothing. Teachers are unaware of their responsibilities. Apart from not teaching the classes, they mostly indulge with their personal discussions. This discourages most students to continue with their studies.
In Balochistan, government has failed to eradicate child labour. There is need for effective strategies by the government to work on the issue so that every child gets an education and a better life.