‘Over 40 per cent of Pakistani adults are illiterate’

Published: February 18, 2016
Speakers note Pakistan ranks near top of the table on illiteracy.

Speakers note Pakistan ranks near top of the table on illiteracy.

ISLAMABAD: Speakers have noted that Pakistan is reeling under the burden of 40 per cent of its adult population being illiterate, which is of serious concern for the country.

They were speaking at a meeting held under the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) on Wednesday on the development of a National Plan of Action (NPA) towards achieving 90 per cent literacy as envisioned under Vision 2025.

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Representatives of the federating units including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency attended the meeting.

“NCHD and representatives of all provinces will have to jointly accept the challenge of enhancing literacy rates up to 90 per cent by improving enrollment in schools, stopping dropouts, and promoting adult literacy, besides initiating skill development programmes in the country,” said NCHD Chairperson Razina Alam Khan.

“In such an alarming situation, it is extremely important to address the illiteracy problem on a priority basis, she said, adding that Vision 2025 provides a guideline and a roadmap for addressing illiteracy in the country.

The meeting noted with concern that although the net enrolment rate (NER) in Pakistan was 72 per cent, the dropout rate of 33 per cent affected the literacy rate drastically.

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It was also noted that the raw figure for illiterate Pakistanis is around 57 million.

NCHD Director General Abid Hussain said that despite devolution of education to provinces, the federal government and civil society could not be absolved of their responsibilities.

The NCHD chairperson vowed to achieve 90 per cent literacy and 100 per cent enrolment under Vision 2025 through a revived strategy.

NCHD will establish 12,000 new literacy centres in less developed and remote areas of the country.

Alam said that the PC-1 of the National Training Institute has been approved recently, which envisage enhancing skill development as a first priority of adult education.

Literacy target: ‘100% school enrollment in Punjab by 2018’

She said that a training institute for literacy and non-formal education would also be established in Islamabad to develop research and to provide trainings to all stakeholders working in the field of literacy non-formal basic education (NFBE).

Alam said the literacy centres would also be set up in seminaries, while special courses have also been arranged for taxi drivers, gardeners and labourers.

She said that post-literacy programme was also being prepared to engage the new literates enabling them to continue reading after completion of courses.

The UNESCO delegates asked the representatives of education sector to come up with innovative ideas to reach out to the illiterates. The JICA representative suggested involving the community to understand the problem.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th,  2016.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Haji Atiya
    Feb 18, 2016 - 10:09AM

    Pretty sure the illiteracy figures are considerably higher if one talks about functional literacy as opposed to putting one’s thumbprint on a piece of paper.Recommend

  • jay
    Feb 18, 2016 - 12:10PM

    So what we are a nuclear power !!!Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Feb 18, 2016 - 3:54PM

    Being educated illiterate the rest 60% are even worseRecommend

  • Shakeel
    Feb 18, 2016 - 5:48PM

    This is the biggest challenge of our time. We as a people have a duty upon each other to help others become literate. Only when people are literate will they break the shackles of opression including opression in it’s fuedal, parlimentary, culture and religious forms.

    I think we need a charitable organisation on the scale of Edhi to fund part time adult literacy courses. Imagine what a difference a 10-15 year campaign could make. In reality what is 10-15 years? It’s not a long time at all. Recommend

  • dk
    Feb 18, 2016 - 5:54PM

    Ohh i see.. and the same population say that India have high iliteracy. They don’t think twice about themselves where they are standing. Hope by this news will open the eyes of pak people.Recommend

  • Dong
    Feb 18, 2016 - 6:43PM

    Our definition of literacy is if someone passes 5th grade. The backward nature of our education system which promotes memorization and “passing” exams rather than to give actual knowledge, means that majority of our nation is illiterate.

    The current governments will never take steps to solve this epidemic because it makes sure that they and their children will keep on ruling for foreseeable future. May Allah help Us.Recommend

  • Xyz
    Feb 18, 2016 - 9:47PM

    I remember growing up in India there were massive drives done by government for adult education and individuals were involved at all levels including school children and college students to teach adults.

    What it helped create was tremendous push for awareness towards education.

    Something similar could be taken up in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Shakeel
    Feb 18, 2016 - 9:54PM

    @Dong – Perhaps you are a victim of the same education system? The definition of literacy is being able to read and write with understanding. If you can read and write basic sentences and understand what you are doing, you are considered literate; uneducated but literate. Recommend

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