Barriers to Girls' Education in Pakistan
Children in Pakistan (especially girls) face multiple barriers to education in both supply and demand:
Constructing large school buildings in mountainous areas is impractical and expensive
Even when government schools do exist in these areas, distances are so great that children have to walk for two hours to reach them
Due to the safety issues of traveling so far across mountainous terrain, parents are reluctant to send their children (especially girls) to school and if they do manage to go, attendance is not regular
HOPE For the Future
HOPE has found that the most effective and sustainable long-term solution to education in Azad Kashmir and rural or poverty-stricken areas is the home school system. Prior to this, the home school concept was largely ignored in Pakistan. Home schools solve many barriers to education because they are:
Affordable: A large physical infrastructure is not needed; home schools can be easily set up in a large room or even outside
Flexible in nature: Home schools can be readily adjusted to a community’s specific requirements
Community involvement: Home schools are taught and run by females whom parents know and trust. Young girls are motivated to open their own home schools as well.
35 Home Schools in Azad Kashmir
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HOPE has 35 registered home schools which cater to a remote population living in the mountainous area of Azad Kashmir. Presently, HOPE’s home schools are the only functioning schools in this area which is approximately three hours from the capital city of Muzaffarabad. Currently, 2.000 students are enrolled, 80 percent of whom are girls. Classes are offered until eight grade, and in some areas until high school.
Home schooling is a highly effective method of education which has not reached its potential in Pakistan’s rural and remote regions. In the winter, many areas in Azad Kashmir are cut off to transportation due to treacherous roads. Constructing physical school buildings is impractical in these areas. Furthermore, many girls are adversely affected by sociocultural barriers to education as compared to urban areas. Home schooling is a flexible and cost-effective solution which addresses all of these issues.
165 Home Schools in Urban Karachi, Rural Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Sanghar
HOPE has a flourishing network of home schools in downtrodden communities in the outskirts of Karachi. There are 165 home schools total: 55 in urban Karachi, 45 in rural Karachi, and 65 in Badin, Thatta, and Sanghar. A total of 7,000 students are enrolled in these home schools, 80 percent of whom are girls.
Home schools take place within the homes of community females. The teachers are given a salary through HOPE and are provided with teaching supplies (blackboard, books, stationary) free of charge. Students traditionally sit on the floor on a large mat, but if space and costs permit, chairs and desks are provided as well. Classes are held until fifth grade, and in many cases until high school.
HOPE’s home schools are an excellent option for these impoverished areas because they are a low-cost method which uses the resources already available within a community. More importantly, they are giving girls who have historically been left behind an opportunity to learn.
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