Education – Quetta

The Afghan community in urban areas of Quetta run private schools for the Afghan children managed directly by the community. The schools are private and monthly fees are payable by the children’s families. Some schools are free, for example Muslim Hands runs several schools with support from philanthropists and international donors.

In total, there are 23,126 (Jan 2015) students (41% girls) enrolled in 23 secondary schools 10 middle schools and 9 primary schools.

A number of education projects have been implemented in Quetta within the RAHA programme, including:

  • Repair and renovation of several public schools in 2009 by a number of organisations, including TAHREEK (4 schools), CONCERN WOLDWIDE (3 schools), TARAQEE (1 school) and SAVE THE CHILDREN (16 schools).
  • SCSPEB focused on health and hygiene sessions, establishment of School Management committees and renovation work in 54 public schools.
  • CAR completed in 2010 the renovation and construction of 1 school, with an additional 4 schools in 2011 and 5 schools in 2012.
  • In 2013, IHH conducted an educational promotion project and WESS targeted 3 schools for creation of child friendly environment for the children.
  • In 2014 IHH implemented the girls’ educational promotion project including construction of additional classrooms, a hall and provided urgently needed furniture.
  • In 2014, UNHCR distributed 12,264 textbooks to Afghan children in two Afghani schools of Quetta Urban.

While the education activities in Quetta are numerous, a number of issues remain, including:

  • Documentation is normally mandatory for enrolment in school, but many refugee families have not obtained birth certificates for their children, resulting in the children’s admission being denied. Refugees can obtain a birth certificate for all children freely at the PCM centre – the Proof of Registration Card Modification centre.
  • As noted in the livelihoods post, many refugee families live in extreme poverty and are forced to send their children, normally boys, out to earn money doing odd jobs including garbage collection, daily labour etc. Awareness raising within the community of the risks presented by child labour is required.
  • Having no disposable income, these families cannot also afford to buy the books and uniforms the children would require if they were enrolled in school. Perhaps a future RAHA project could provide books and uniforms?
  • As noted in other districts, girls are often not allowed to attend school after reaching 9 years of age. This is typical of Afghan culture, particularly the Pashtoon and Uzbek ethnicities. Once the girls leave school, they have to stay at home, support their mothers, conduct household chores, do embroidery or take care of younger siblings. Awareness raising about the importance of education is required within the community as well as possible home schooling alternatives.
  • Girls are also denied access to schools by their parents due to the perception of their commute to and from school being insecure.
  • As noted elsewhere, Afghan students completing their studies in Pakistani schools face certification issues on their return to Afghanistan.
  • School enrolment suffers as there are too few schools and those that are operational are not perceived as sound facilities within the community. The schools often lack one or more resources including male and female teachers, poor infrastructure, no furniture, no books, lack of space within schools to construct additional rooms resulting in those rooms that are available being increasingly overcrowded.
  • The Afghan teachers have graduated from these same under resourced schools and have only very limited teaching qualifications, if at all. Clearly, there is a need to invest in improving the capacity of these Afghan teachers. One alternative is for these teachers to attend government run teacher training centres, which would require advocacy with the provincial government.
  • Many adolescents and youths that missed out on some or all of their own education find it difficult to later return to school in order to better themselves. The classes of most interest have been literacy and numeracy classes. An adult learning programme would enable them to complete the primary classes in short period e.g. in the evenings. Once youths have acquired these fundamental skills, there are a range of vocational training opportunities they have expressed interest in, that would greatly enhance the livlihoods opportunities.