Context of Baluchistan and Quetta

Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan, one of the four provinces of Pakistan, and bordering Afghanistan. The city is an urban island surrounded by an inhospitable, mountainous desert. Quetta is a garrison town with a large number of military barracks and terrains.

The education system of Pakistan and Baluchistan in particular, is traditional. The quality of education is very limited. Most poor children attend public schools where the main didactic principle is “memorization”. Most schools lack good teachers and supportive teaching materials. Examinations are not free form corruption. In such an environment the prospects of work and a respectable position in society is therefore restricted to a small elite with sufficient resources to send their children to private schools and or institutions in England or the USA. The number of people in Baluchistan that cannot read or write is particularly high among women and girls.

The UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for 2010 places  Pakistan under the category of “medium human development” on the 125th place in the ranking of 169 countries. The socioeconomic indicators of Baluchistan are the lowest of all Pakistani provinces. The conditions in Baluchistan certainly in terms of education are therefore more comparable with those of neighboring Afghanistan than with other Pakistani provinces. Afghanistan is on the 155th place of the HDI list. This implies e.g. that only 5.8%, of their women in the age group of 25 years and older, and 34% of the men have followed high school.

The vast majority of the Baluchi population is Muslims. The Christian minority belongs to the lowest social class. They are mostly living together in various Basti’s (districts) with inadequate public services, where unemployment is high and many social abuses. For most youth in Baluchistan the prospects of a meaningful life are limited. Christian youth have a double handicap: they are poor and belong to a minority.

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