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Other Malalas... By Mujahid

14 February, 2013

I appreciate Malala Yousufzai who is from Swat. But I also keep thinking about the rest of the Malalas in Swat. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government claims that it has prioritised education.

I personally belong to Swat, Kohistan, which consists of three union councils having only one girls high school in Bahrain town. Besides, there are a few girls middle schools and some girls primary schools spread over every village in the region.

But unfortunately most of them are ghost schools. Our local government and education department are responsible for the failure of the education system in this region. I recently visited a government girls primary school in Punkia village and found it closed. When I asked the local people about the school, they told me that the school remained closed most of the time, while no government or education department official visited the school in the last two years.

Now Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBT), Bahrain, Swat, has been running a special education project, Swat Kohistan Women Education Project (SKWEP), with the financial support of USAID in three union councils of Swat. There are 50 education centres. The target is to educate 2,000 women of the area. The result of the ongoing project is positive so far as women are keen to get education. The people from upper mountainous areas now try to send their girls to schools as teachers for IBT special projects get handsome salary packages.

Most of the intellectuals and journalists claimed that the local people do not want their girls to receive education. But the fact is that our government doesn't want to educate women in the area. All of my four sisters, who have studied till class V, had to discontinue their education for there is no girls middle school in the area. So, it is not the local people, but the government that is responsible for women's illiteracy in the area.

MUJAHID TORWALI
Bahrain, Swat

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