LAHORE: The literacy rate for Pakistan stood at 58 per cent during the year 2017, which is two per cent less than the previous year. In rural areas, masses remain illiterate due to the hand-to-mouth livelihood pattern, that is what is being earned is spent to cover for the daily expenses of food and basic utilities. Resultantly, our country has a slow progress rate. The most common cause of illiteracy is our agriculture-based economy part of which still depends on primary sector earnings unlike the developed economies where a sizeable chunk of GDP comes from the secondary and tertiary sectors.

A higher crime rate is one consequence of lower literacy rate. Government should take steps to create jobs for the young active labour force. Government should also take steps to establish colleges and universities in villages so that children who are living in rural settlements may not have to travel to cities to get higher education.

Every individual has a right to get education in good institutions. Illiteracy minimises the social progression of a society and by extension of it also hinders economic development and growth of a region. It is about time that the new government that has vowed to priortise education takes reformative steps to improve the literacy rate in all the provinces particularly Balochistan, that has been neglected by the previous governments.

Abdul Wadood

Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2018.

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