A Proposed Solution and Role Of More Privileged Students: Fighting the Big Four Constraints (B4Cs) Faced By Deprived Ones
In Gilgit-Baltistan, the primary enrollment 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 the school. Adding to the severity of the situation, the majority of students drops school at middle and secondary level landing in the menial jobs, or just wandering around for years with nothing do. This heinous dropout rate at middle and secondary level of schooling negatively affects the already very low primary school enrollment as seeing others children being dropped out, the parents do get dis-incentivized and stop sending their children to school at primary level. Instead, they place them at a mechanic shop to learn any technical skill or employ them as as home labors, shepherds, and wood collectors, etc. Therefore, if Gilgit-Baltistan has to develop and prosper in future, it is important to deal with this grave situation in the 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) besides any other:
- 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 centers. Furthermore, the teachers at schools fail to inspire their students instead they use archaic procedures, making education less attractive to 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.
- Lack of Guidance/Awareness:
The information about educational opportunities, interesting fields, and scientific wonders rarely reach 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 the country. Also, there are many other scholarships 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 the remote areas of the region succumb to hurdles and back out from school. However, not all, but few manage to get rid of this information gap and successfully compete and excel in life. Therefore, it is important that the schools, the more privileged students, and professionals provide the required guidance and awareness to the deprived ones at the appropriate time.
- Lack of Encouragement:
I remember, when I was a 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 the school instead of backing me up. Thanks Allah and my father, who didn’t follow the advice of that highly educated person, I continued my education and successfully managed to reach a well reputed university of the country. The lack of encouragement is also among the 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.
- Lack of Finance:
It acts as the last nail in the coffin, already faced with the above mentioned problems, the financial restraints make sure that the students leave the school and opt for a short term menial job. So, it is need of hour that both public and private sectors invest more in education to make it accessible and meaningful to the students in the remote areas belonging to low income families.
I have full conviction that if students are provided with an inspiration, proper guidance and encouragement making them capable to set a bigger aim to pursue , they will break the shackles of financial restraints through hard work. We can make sure that the students pursue education seriously and with full interest by sorting out these four constraints (4Cs), envisioning 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 the prestigious universities and colleges of the country. They are among the privileged students who have successfully made to higher studies at good institutions of the country. They must make best use of their summer and winter breaks, team up and visit schools of the 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 the initiatves and students.
In this regard, it is pertinent to mention that for the last couple of years Organization for Educational Change (OEC) has initiated various projects directly dealing with these four constraints (4Cs). It unites the more privileged 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 the magazine. Furthermore, it has initiated scholarship programs for deserving students. It has received its practical impact in the form of a student reaching to a good institution previously having no direction in his life due to the aforementioned problems. Likewise, following the 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.
Overall, It is important that the discussed good initiatives to tackle the highlighted constraints must carry on the good work to have a greater impact on youngsters in the forthcoming years. Also, our public and private sectors must revisit its educational polices to sort out these four issues. The collective efforts can improve the school enrollment rates in our area and provide a chance for brilliant minds to excel in education preparing themselves for leading the region and country in future.