Literacy rate for girls stands at a modest 10.5% compared to 36.66% for boys despite considerable expenditure incurred by the FATA Secretariat to improve education statistics in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Frontier Regions (FRs).
According to the Annual Development Programme 2013-14 for Fata, Rs3.68 billion has been allocated for education, of which Rs2.8 billion is being used for 184 ongoing schemes while Rs877 million will be used for 33 new schemes. But the literacy rate for the area still stands at only 24.5% even in wake of significant expenditures made by the FATA Education Department.
According to the FATA Education Atlas 2011-12 report released by Directorate of Education FATA Education Management Information System, the proportion of girls enrolled in educational institutions stands at 7.5% in South Waziristan, 4.26% in North Waziristan, 21.03% in Kurram Agency, 4.75% in Bajaur, 5.72% in Mohmand Agency, 5.15% in Orakzai Agency and 16.13% in Khyber Agency.
Similarly, the proportion stands at 5.88% in FR DI Khan, 1.81% in FR Lakki Marwat, 2.28% in FR Tank, 1.07% in FR Bannu, 24.09% in FR Kohat and 16.66% in FR Peshawar.
The report states around 124,424 girls were enrolled in 1,551 primary schools, 19,614 girls enrolled in 158 middle schools, 13,837 girls enrolled in 42 high schools and 1,134 girls enrolled in five higher secondary schools in Fata.
It adds out of 1,015 primary schools for girls in Fata, 87 have no boundary walls; 583 have no drinking water facilities; 454 have no electricity; and 344 have no toilets.
In addition to lack of basic facilities in educational institutions, tuition fees remain unaffordable for the general public, despite the current abysmal teaching standards.
Assistant Director Education FATA Zar Wali said recent militant activity and poor law and order in Fata has hampered girls education. He said the government is now taking steps to provide education in all areas of Fata.
Zar Wali added the education budget has increased significantly which will boost literacy rates in the tribal belt. He also claimed the main focus of the government is to improve female literacy rates in the area.
Agency Education Officer of Khyber Agency Atiqur Rehman said lack of awareness and mobilisation has adversely affected girls education in Fata. He said cultural barriers are also an impediment to promoting female education.
Rehman added Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency is the area hardest hit by the ongoing insurgency. Most government schools were destroyed in the area as a result of militant activity while the remaining schools in Jamrud and Landikotal tehsils are in poor condition.
Rehman said they are trying their best to facilitate female education in the area but are suffering from a severe shortage of funds.
Source: The Express Tribune.