A case study of educational needs, obstacles and opportunities for girls, women and teachers in remote Pakistan
Chabot, Genevieve Walsh
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This case study assesses the educational needs of the teachers, students and women of a remote, isolated school community in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It also addresses the cultural, social and religious obstacles that girls, women and teachers face, while identifying appropriate recommendations for girls, women and teachers to improve their level of, and access to, educational opportunities. The methodology and data collection included formal and informal interviews, surveys and field notes gathered over a two-year period. The results of this study are shared in a narrative analysis of the experiences of teachers, young women and girls in the Seri Valley School community. Barriers to female education have great consequences for family and community health, potential home and community income, and the following generation's educational opportunities. As this study shows, even when girls are allowed to attend primary school, there are still many barriers that keep them from continuing on to higher education. Those barriers are: a shortage of well-educated female teachers, a supportive community that is open to girls continuing their education, and the significantly important approval of the influential male in the family allowing the girl or woman to continue her education. A result of these barriers is that female students in rural, isolated regions of Pakistan rarely go on to middle or high school for their education, therefore not improving the level of education for the population of female teachers and the future generation of girls. Breaking this cycle of depriving girls an education equal to boys needs to start with the community supporting access to schools, educating families about the benefits and importance of educating the female population, and providing opportunities for female teachers to continue their education and professional development.