TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES FACED BY FEMALE STUDENTS TO ACQUIRE HIGHER EDUCATION IN KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA, PAKISTAN: A CASE STUDY
The objective of the study is to investigate transportation challenges faced by female students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, state of Pakistan, to acquire higher education at college/university level. The female students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan face transportation challenges like overcrowding, security, harassment, deficiency/non availability of vehicles and cultural issues to travel with opposite gender. Every day more than 20,000 female students travel from their homes to more than 100 educational institutes in Peshawar (city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Majority of the students use public/private transport as it is the sole mean of their transport; however, limited number of students manages to reach by their transports. Educational institutions have limited number of transport at their disposal which are also not being used due to prevailing security environments/threats. Study explores that due to this challenge, many brilliant female students do not complete their study which makes great loss to the country.
For this a sample of 346 female students of five higher educational institution of Peshawar was selected (Questionnaires) by proportional allocation method and analyzed using Chi-square test of association. This study has explored that majority of female students use local private/public transport such as buses, vans, cab etc for daily use, as they found this affordable, but the affordable transports are overcrowded during the peak hours of morning and evening sessions and unsafe due to prevailing critical security environments in the province. It further explains that female students are not satisfied with the pickup and drop off style of the local transport, they are not provided enough seats, moreover, the reserved seats for female are often occupied by males. The main problems faced by female students is overcrowding due to which an element of harassment and injuries occurs at times. It is found that the drivers of local transport are not trained and they drive roughly. Research proved that transport challenges has significantly affected female student in acquiring higher education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This study suggests that the higher educational institutes in the province to provide affordable transport to students especially female to make it possible to compete in education sector without any hindrance. Study further adds that Government should pay a serious attention towards the local transportation system and should make it safe and comfortable for female students.