|Title||Politics of education, conflict and conflict resolution in Balochistan, Pakistan|
Balochistan is one of the federating units (provinces) of Pakistan; it constitutes 44 % of Pakistan’s total territory and has been in a state of confrontation with the state since 1948. This is because the majority of the Baloch consider that the Pakistani state annexed their land forcibly, against the will and desire of the people. The Baloch nationalists have never accepted this annexation, and as a result the state has been facing serious crises precipitated by various factors. Ever since Pakistan’s annexation of Balochistan, there has been an on-going conflict between the Baloch (i.e., the Baloch people) and the state of Pakistan. The fact is that the conflict in Balochistan is multidimensional, including political, social and economic factors, the avarice of the Pakistani state and the grievances of the Baloch people. In order to aid an understanding of the various backgrounds to the conflict, this thesis contributes to debates on the politics of education and conflict in Pakistan’s Balochistan.
I have used statistics and analysed data gathered during my fieldwork in Balochistan and Pakistan to investigate the politics of education and examine various policy frameworks, rationales and perspectives on the role of education. In order to do so, this study adopts a qualitative method and employs multiple data sources: documentary data, semi-structured interviews with twenty-eight stakeholders (in the province and country), visual data, and observations.
Drawing on functionalist and conflict perspectives on the role of education, this thesis examines whether education in Balochistan is designed to empower the people or is simply used as a tool to control them. I have found that the state is not willing to educate the Baloch people; rather, it wishes to control them. There are two ways in which education in Balochistan is being used to serve the purpose of control.
Firstly, the state of education in terms of its type, quality, quantity and infrastructure is considered by the majority of Baloch to be a failure of government’s strategic policy. For instance, education in Balochistan has lagged behind in various areas of government policy and decision-making. Major problems in Balochistan’s educational system include a deeply inadequate supply of textbooks, insufficient monitoring of schools, shortages of teachers and schools for both boys and girls, and insufficient funding. Secondly, many Baloch decry Pakistan’s unjust efforts to impose its culture, language and radical religious ideologies on the Baloch people. Indeed, the politics of (mis)representation of the Baloch and their history, culture and language are implemented through the state’s official textbooks. Education in Balochistan, particularly in government-run schools, is highly biased against the Baloch culture, history and social set-up, and it is thus a contributory factor in the generation of retaliatory behaviour among Baloch students. Formal education in Balochistan is structured in ways that indoctrinate children with a different language, culture and history. To many scholars, controlling education negates Baloch national aspirations and thus contributes to the conflict in Balochistan.
|Accepted author manuscript|