SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECTING FEMALE HIGHER EDUCATION: AN ANALYSIS OF CHITRAL, PAKISTAN
Higher education signifies the social and economic development of states. Higher education helps society excel in various professions and technical sectors. The progress and prosperity of a society primarily depend on education. Women's education holds prominence in the modern world. No society can develop or can sustain its development without educating its women. They make about 50% of the world’s population and their education connotes the development and progress of a society. Chitral is the least populated district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Due to its exceptional and unique social and ethnic diversity the area has an interesting position on the map of the world. The literacy rate in Chitral is higher among women as compared to other parts of KPK but still receiving higher education is very challenging for girls because of social, economic, infrastructural, and administrative inefficiencies. Social taboos and cultural norms have restricted women of different communities inside their homes and engaged them in household chores. Women in Chitral face many obstacles and challenges in receiving higher education. Social misconception about women's education, religious misapprehensions, and cultural taboos, negative perception of co-education, financial constraints, and lack of proper educational institutions are the significant factors that affect women's higher education. The University of Chitral is the only higher education institution established in 2017. There were no other higher educational institutions before the University of Chitral. The university is still not well developed to meet the demands of higher education especially women's education. This paper intends to highlight the status of higher education in Chitral, socio-cultural factors affecting higher education of women, the significance of higher education for women in Chitral, and concludes with recommendations and suggestions for a preferable way forward. The researchers had conducted a field survey in Chitral and the data collected has been used in this paper.