A Proposed Solution and Role Of More Previleged Students: Fighting the Big Four Constraints(B4Cs) Faced By Deprived Ones
In Gilgit-Baltistan, the primary enrolment stands at 51%, which means only 51 out of every 100 students have access to primary school and remaining doesn’t even get an opportunity to see school. Adding to severity majority of students drop school at middle and matric level; leaving sheer majority of brilliants minds in menial jobs, and many just wandering around. This heinous dropout rate negatively affects already very low primary school enrollment, seeing others being dropped out, the parents might get a disincentive and don’t to send their children to school. They might send them at a mechanic shop to learn any technical skill or use them as as home labours, shepherds, and wood collectors etc. So, if Gilgit-baltistan has to develop and prosperous in future, it is important to deal with this grave situation in educational sector. Apart from geographical, social and cultural impediments, based on my personal observation and experience, I have deduced that students are compelled to leave school because of following Four Constraints (4Cs):
1. Lack of Inspiration: An inspiration acts as insulin, it gives a person the will power to consistently fight and overcome all impediments in order to achieve a goal. It keeps a person moving towards a goal or an aim persistently. Mostly in remote areas of our region, those people who succeed in their lives and have the capacity to inspire others leave their home places and get settled in urban centres. Further, the teachers at schools fail to inspire their students instead they use archaic procedures making education less attractive for them. Finally, those students belonging to low income families rarely have any member to get inspired from. Thus, because of these vacuums, these students lack an inspiration or an urge to bear difficulties, set a higher goal and to have a bigger dream.
2. Lack of Guidance/Awareness: The information about educational opportunities, interesting fields, and scientific wonders rarely reaches to these students. The core problem is that there is an information gap between existing opportunities and deserving students. For instance, we have two prestigious scholarships: National Outreach Program (NOP) and National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) offered by prestigious institutes of country. Also, there are many scholarship provided by public sector and private sector for higher education, and secondary schooling. Similarly, there are various fee remissions and scholarships provided by higher secondary schools like Aga Khan Higher Secondary School (AKHSS) and Gilgit College of Commerce and Economics(GCCE) for deserving and needy students. These opportunities require proper planning right from middle school and primary. Unfortunately, very few students have access to information about these opportunities and quite often, those who have information belong to well off families , and they succeed to grab it despite being non deserving or ineligible in real terms. Due to lack of required information and awareness, many students of remote areas succumbed to hurdles and back out from school. However not all, few manage to get rid of this informational gap and successfully compete and excell in life. Therefore, it is important that the schools, the more previleged students, and professionals provide the required guidance and awareness to the the deprived ones at appropriate time.
3. Lack of Encouragement: I remember, when I was kid a very learned person from my village came to our house; I was accompanying my father in his work. The learned person advised my father to take me out of school and train me to become a carpenter. It was very discouraging for me because despite the fact that the learned person knew I was good at school, he tried to get me off school instead of bucking me up. Thanks Allah and my under matric father, who dint follow the advice of that highly educated person and I successfully managed to reach a well reputed university of country. The lack of encouragement and presence of discouraging factors are aslo among major causes of drop outs; it kills the courage of students to pursue higher aims and goals. Therefore, it is needed that the educated people or the ones who have excelled in their lives pay frequent visits to their home villages, meet students and encourage them.
4. Lack of Finance: It acts as the last nail in the coffin, already faced with above mentioned problems, the financial restraints make sure that the students leave the school and opt for a short term menial jobs. So, it is need of hour that both public and private sector invest more in education make it accessible and meaningful to the students of remote areas belonging to low income families.
I have full conviction that if students are provided with an inspiration, proper guidance and encouragment making them capable to set a bigger aim to pursue , they will break the shackles of financial restraints through hardwork. Because, in this world they need to create an opportunity for themselves, no one provides it at doorstep for free. Nonetheless, in extreme cases like orphanage, physical disability and extreme poverty, students must be provided with financial help. By sorting out these four constraints (4Cs), we can make sure that the students pursue education seriously and with full interest. They envision it as the only way out to change lives of their family, village, region and country.
To tackle these four constraints (4Cs), I see a strong role of youth especially those who are studying at higher universities of country. They are among more previleged students who have successfully made to higher studies at good institutions of country. They must make best use of their summer and winter breaks, team up and visit schools of remote areas of their respective regions. They must organize educational drives, act as role models for students, inspire them, provide them with required guidance and make them able to dream high and aim big. Teach them the small steps to achieve higher, and where needed hunt donors, sponsors and philanthropists to finance.
In this regard, it is pertinent to mention that for last couple of years Organization for Educational Change (OEC) has initiated various projects directly dealing with these four constraints (4Cs). It unites the more previleged students from various regions under its umbrella. It organizes educational expos, prints a student magazine, runs a mobile helpline and has an online version of magazine. Further, it has initiated scholarship programs for deserving students. And, It has received its practical impact in form of a student reaching to a good institution previously having no direction in his life due to aforementioned problems. Likewise, following footsteps of OEC, many student bodies have started more a less similar campaigns. Also, even some political student bodies have made provision of educational awareness part of their activities. Finally, a students led organization, The Milk Way Trust (TMT) is planning to fight the big fourth constraint of “Finance” at a massive level.
Overall, It is important that we carry on the a tradition started, to see a greater impact on youngsters in forthcoming years. Also, our public and private sectors must revisit it’s educational polices to sort out these four issues. Then, we can improve the school enrollment rates in our area through a collective action. And, provide a chance for brilliant minds to excel preparing themselves for leading the region and country in future.
Member M&A Council
Orgainization For Educational Change(OEC)
Note: It is not official opinion of writer or organization, we appreciate diverse opinions for public discussion and debate.