The Pakistan Navy is moving forward for a development project of Balochistan that includes living standards and status.
In a statement, the navy has said that concepts of generational improvement and social mobility essentially outline how successive generations should aim for better life than their predecessors with improved living standards and status and they are heavily tied to access to good quality education.
Furthermore, should a good quality education be unobtainable due to a lack of financial resources and/or lack of suitable educational facilities, the lower class of society find itself permanently locked in a cycle of poverty, it says, adding that these factors may exist due to various reasons all over Pakistan but are especially pronounced in Balochistan that has suffered sustained lack of opportunities if compared to other provinces. For a number of reasons, literacy is extremely low in Balochistan.
The Pakistan Navy is fully aware of this situation in Balochistan as the Pakistan Navy is an established military force across the entire coastal areas in Balochistan. PN has therefore, expended considerable effort to improve educational facilities and prospects for the Baloch youth in the coastal areas and has improved recruitment opportunities for the young Baloch students to have a successful career in the navy.
According to the statement, the Pakistan Navy also runs education facilities that provide both free education and has reserved seats in these institutions for the local students. These institutions serve not only the immediate and long-term aspirations of the local communities to achieve an element of generational/social mobility, but bring them into the mainstream of Pakistani society as well as increasing the Pakistan Navy’s talent pool from which to potentially draw recruits.
One of the Pakistan Navy’s step is making of Cadet College Ormara (CCO) at Ormara. The CCO is a major educational facility in Balochistan in support of the federal government initiatives to improve education in the province, and is providing education from class VIII to HSSC level. The CCO facilities include full range of academic, accommodation, administrative, and recreational (including a swimming pool), and prayer facilities amongst others to support the full range of educational and extracurricular needs of students. Perhaps more important than the facilities themselves, however, are the efforts to widen access to the CCO to all levels of local society and a sizable percentage of seats are reserved for the Balochi students.
The inclusion of cadets in the CCO’s intake is notable as the scheme has been revived exclusively for Baloch candidates in which all expenditures, i.e. education, board/lodging, messing, and others are borne by the government of Pakistan.
Under the scheme, Baloch students are selected each year to undergo studies upon being recommended by the ISSB, and they are cleared to join the Pakistan Naval Academy as PN cadets.
This gives them the opportunity to not only have a good education, but the chance of a career as well, something perhaps equally important in a region where employment opportunities to suit a higher level of education are limited. Additionally, it is ensured that the scheme is available to students from humble backgrounds that otherwise are unable to avail this opportunity granted by such a scheme.
These schemes will be indispensible in setting up local students with a chance to have successful careers. However, there can be no escaping the fact that a sound primary education is the key giving children the initial chance to make the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, the statement says, due to financial constraints, Montessori level education is beyond the reach of many parents who also struggle to provide their children with a primary level education.
To overcome, this constraint, the Bahria Foundation has established subsidised educational facilities to provide students with the firm foundation from where they may progress, starting from Montessori level. These include Bahria Model College Ormara (BMCO), Bahria Model School Gwadar (BMSG), Bahria Model School Jiwani (BMSJ), and Bahria Model School Turbat (BMST). It is worth looking at these schools individually as they are all fairly recently established.
The BMCO was established in 2004 to offer classes from Montessori as a primary school, but has since become a college offering classes to HSSC and is affiliated with the Quetta Board. Of the current students’ lot, more than seventy percent are local Baloch students, a figure which indicates that the BMCO is one of the main educational facilities in Ormara.
The Pakistan Navy is further supporting the BMCO by providing pick and drop facilities for students and staff, besides providing staff and financing the running of the BMCO.
The Bahria Model School Gwadar (BMSG) runs classes from Montessori to Class IX, and was established in 2010 to provide subsidised education to local Baloch children. This will also allow provision of education up to intermediate level. New building included a library, science laboratory, plus indoor and outdoor sports facilities. Not only will the BMSG evolve into a standout educational facility for the port and surrounding region, but is also set to become a significant employer in Gwadar.
Running costs of the school are presently being met by grant from the Pakistan Navy though students also pay a nominal fee.
Considering the small population of the towns in which the above schools have been established, (with only Gwadar and Turbat approaching anywhere near 100,000 residents, and the others far fewer), they offer an important avenue for the long-term advancement of the local population over and above the existing educational facilities already present.
Certainly in the smaller towns, such as Jiwani and Ormara, the schools established due to the Pakistan Navy may represent the only quality educational facilities to be had, making them all the more important. Considering Ormara is the Pakistan Navy’s operational base however, it stands to reason that much of its development efforts be focused there. Therefore, the Pakistan Navy has also endeavoured to support existing schools at Ormara city.
These include the Government Boys High School Ormara, Government Girls High School Ormara, and Government Middle School for Boys Ormara in which the Pakistan Navy is providing assistance such as furniture, stationery, teachers and maintenance of the school buildings. Additionally, a serving naval officer (a lieutenant or lieutenant commander), is also appointed as the principal of Government High School Ormara. Children from the coastal strip in Balochistan are also the beneficiaries of the Chief of Naval Staff Sponsor a Child Scheme whereby students from humble backgrounds can be sponsored to allow them to benefit from free education at Bahria Model Schools, and some may also be eligible for provision of books, stationery, uniform, and shoes; 129 students are currently benefiting from this generous scheme to give them opportunities they would otherwise not have.
Not all efforts are restricted to the coastal strip however as a scheme is in place to reserve two seats for Baloch students and one from Dera Bugti at the prestigious Cadet College Petaro (CCP) in Sindh. As a service to the nation at large, its efforts to support education in Balochistan, are an excellent example of the Pakistan Navy serving the nation at land as well as sea.