2013-14 report: Literacy rate slips nationwide by 2%

Published: May 14, 2015
Survey finds Sindh, Balochistan as performance laggards; Punjab, K-P move a couple of notches up. PHOTO: PAKISTANTODAY

Survey finds Sindh, Balochistan as performance laggards; Punjab, K-P move a couple of notches up. PHOTO: PAKISTANTODAY

Survey finds Sindh, Balochistan as performance laggards; Punjab, K-P move a couple of notches up. PHOTO: PAKISTANTODAY In this photo taken in April this year at the start of academic year, school girls march with teachers to promote enrolments in Quetta. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Despite spending slightly over 2% of its national budget on education, Pakistan could not increase its literacy rate in 2013-14 that dropped instead to 58% because of poor showing by the Sindh and Balochistan governments, an official survey finds.

The overall literacy rate, estimated at 60% in 2012-13, has gone down to 58% in 2013-14, shows the results of Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM). Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) carried out the survey from August 2013 to June 2014.  The report provides information on key social indicators at national and provincial levels with urban and rural breakdown.

The four provincial and federal governments spent Rs537.6 billion or 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013-14, highlighting the urgency to double the spending to address the root causes that keep children away from schools.

The survey results also suggest that number of children going to primary schools has also dropped. The findings show that parents refusal to send their children to schools was the single biggest reason for children not going to schools, keeping four out of 10 children out of schools. Two out of every 10 children also did not go to the schools, terming the education too expensive.

Under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Pakistan was required to increase its literacy rate to 88% by 2015.  According to the official definition, the literacy rate is that percentage of the population 10 years and above which is able to read and write in any language.

There was also deterioration in availability of basic health facilities while the proportion of population having access to water also dropped. Only 55% of the population had access to sustained water sources – down from 57% in a year. The country has missed the MDG goal of increasing this ratio to 93%.

When compared with 2011-12, the last surveyed year, the literacy rate in 2013-14 remained stagnant at 58%. The male and female literacy rates also stood still at 70% and 47%, respectively.

According to the report, the devastating floods in 2010, which severely affected the infrastructure of schools was the major reason behind drop in literacy rate in 2014 – an argument that seemingly does not hold water. It also says that shortage of schools, teachers, student absenteeism and lack of interest at the level of parents, students and teachers – particularly in rural areas – were the other reasons behind increasing illiteracy in the country.

The provincial literacy rates show that Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) governments managed to improve literacy ratios while Sindh and Balochistan could not maintain their previous levels.

Punjab turned out to be the most educated province, followed by Sindh, K-P and Balochistan. In Punjab 61% population was able to read and write – 1% up from 2011-12 level. Punjab spent Rs218 billion on education in 2013-14.

In Sindh the percentage of educated people dropped by 4% to 56% in 2013-14 and the provincial government spending on education stood at Rs106 billion. The declining ratio was witnessed across both genders. In K-P, the literacy rate increased to 53% due to increase in female literacy rate, a progress of 1%. Yet two-thirds of females were illiterate in K-P. The provincial government spent Rs89 billion on education.

In Balochistan, the literacy rate dropped by 3% to 43% in 2013-14, due to decline in male literacy rate, according to the report. Three-fourth of Balochistan women were illiterate while the illiteracy level of male was 45%. The provincial government spent Rs36 billion on education.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2015.


Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (9)

  • Parvez
    May 14, 2015 - 8:54AM

    When most of our politicians especially the ones in Sindh are classified as ‘ likha para jaihils ‘ this is what one expects to happen with education and literacy.Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    May 14, 2015 - 9:30AM

    Pak army zindabad. Who needs education when we have nukes!Recommend

  • Javed
    May 14, 2015 - 10:08AM

    This is really depressing.Recommend

  • Proletarian
    May 14, 2015 - 10:16AM

    PPP government is a den of evil thieves that are destroying their own Sindhis. Balochistan is a black holeRecommend

  • Zaida
    May 14, 2015 - 11:05AM

    2% decline? That is HUGE!.
    India’s literacy rate in 1947 was an abysmal 12% Today it stands at 74%.
    Pakistan must implement reforms on a war footing. Otherwise. it will left far behind in the region.Recommend

  • Faisal
    May 14, 2015 - 11:34AM

    How can a nation of illiterate survive and thrive in this competitive world where nations are basing their education system to move ahead in this race to create ‘knowledge based societies’.

    Someone has to think & act at the national level as to what should our priorities be? Spending billions on govt perks (PM house/President house/ various national & provincial functions, etc.) armed forces, etc. or providing quality education to our masses?

    Even if the MNAs/MPAs refuse to let go of the perks they enjoy, we can even then increase our education spending by just routing our funds supporting loss making Public sector entities (Pak Steel, PIA, etc.).

    The solutions are there but we don’t have a person in power who can make this happen?Recommend

  • Punjab
    May 14, 2015 - 11:41AM

    Moment of silence for all those who will start comparing PTI performance with all experienced 25 years in power of PMLN. Recommend

  • May 14, 2015 - 12:49PM

    How to increase the literacy rate from 58% to 80% in five years?


    2: Whoever gets someone passed this test should be given Rs 5000-10000 per head.

    3: Test should be held in every Tehsil after ever three months.

    4: Only those illiterates who pass this test should be allowed to cast their votes in 2018 general elections.Recommend

    May 14, 2015 - 1:14PM

    Feather in the cap of Nawaz Sharif and his illiterate Cabinet. In Sindh most heads of family are illiterate as is Zardari, so a PPZ govt represents the culture. Recommend

More in Pakistan