In a sad display of the government’s ignorance, an under-construction building of the Government Degree College for Women in Rawalpindi is now being used for keeping cattle and chickens. The Punjab government has not been providing funds to complete the project since 2008. Former Federal Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed during the regime of military dictator General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf, had laid the foundation stone of the college in 2007. It is alleged that the construction of the college was not allowed to continue due to political rivalry between MNA Sheikh Rashid and the ruling party.

As the parents of young girls in the area have been facing difficulties in acquiring access too higher education, it is shameful that the government would compromise higher education of young girls for personal disputes. In the annual Pakistan District Education Rankings 2016 report by Alif Ailaan it was highlighted that an enormous 81% of all government schools are primary schools, which means that there are very limited opportunities to continue higher education. The government cannot afford to waste any resources, and it is a grave injustice that a partially constructed college cannot serve the purposes of housing cattle and animals.

According to the prestigious QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings issued last month Pakistan has the world’s weakest higher education system. Pakistan has been ranked 50, with an overall score of 9.2 by the British ranking agency. Despite the government’s claims to have invested billions in the country’s education system and an increase in the recently announced budget for the education sector, Pakistan secured the lowest ranking of the fifty countries included in the list.

The government must ensure a sincere effort towards reforming the education sector if it intends to deliver on its promise of an educated Pakistan.