It begins with, “We do not want her to earn, so why spend on her education?” and “Educational institutes do nothing but corrupt a girl’s mind.” These two extreme notions and many more uttered by a girl’s immediate family ensure that not merely is education kept at an arm’s length but her self esteem is dragged to the lowest level as well.
By doing so we do not realize that by closing the doors to the “outside world” we are unconsciously subjecting a girl to survive a life that’s vulnerable to all forms of exploitation.
Education is not merely a means or a tool to earn, it is also the key to becoming mentally strong and dynamic.
Why 12 Years of Education?
In Pakistan, the female population stands at about 48.76% (as per Pakistan Bureau of Statistic 2017) and nearly two-thirds of this population is unable to read and write.
Thus, giving our girls at least 12 years of academic exposure is the need of the hour as it enlightens a girls’ perspective, deepens her insight into the society and protects her from exploitation at the hands of others. It also helps her to understand her rights and responsibilities.
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An educated girl is also better equipped to understand religion instead of being a blind follower. Similarly, she can make her spare time more productive instead of being a Pandora box of gossip. Instead of having a superficial approach she can draw rational conclusions when faced with complicated circumstances.
With the power of education she can bring positive changes to her surroundings, a task impossible to achieve through a mind which has never kindled fire of knowledge. The path of education makes a woman well aware of her self-worth, dignity, value and importance.
No one can brush aside the fact that we belong to a religion in which, 1400 years ago, women used to be scholars. Bibi Ayesha (RA) and tradeswomen, Hazrat Khadija (RA) are prime examples.
It is thus, disheartening that such norms still exist within our society that benefit no one – neither children, women, men nor the society at large. It is high time that we challenge these long-standing idle traditions and harmonize Pakistani traditions and religious beliefs with the value of education.
It is also essential for the development and progress of our society that both men and women are educated. Only by understanding the significance of 12 years of education for every Pakistani girl can we, as a society move towards the goal of making Pakistan a progressive state.