Literacy is the ability to use
text to communicate across
space and time. It is often
reduced to read and write ,
or, sometimes, the ability to
read. In modern context,
the word means reading and
writing in a level adequate
for written communication
and generally a level that
enables one to successfully
function in a society.
Literacy rate is the
percentage of people with
the ability to read and
literacy rate in Pakistan is
said to be 57 per cent. In
fact, this figure is not
reliable and also includes
those who can only write
their names. In spite of
the rows of educational
conferences and five-year
plans, our literacy rate
could not increase much.
Pakistan ranks at 113th
position among 120
countries of the world.
This is an
High illiteracy rate
Pakistan’s High Illiteracy
Rate Threatens Its Fragile
According to Unesco, about 56 percent of Pakistani
adults are literate, in contrast South Asian neighbours
India and Sri Lanka boast literacy rates to 74 percent
and 97 percent, respectively.
Literacy rates in Pakistan are even lower for the rural
poor and for women. Unesco estimates that some 70
percent of Pakistan’s rural population is illiterate,
with even higher rates for women.
While the illiterate cannot be
barred from voting, the
illiterate people plays into the
hands of corrupt politicians
who try to win votes on the
basis of religious, tribal or
ethnic affiliations, rather than
on their contributions to the
Lessons are to be learned from
“During the Dark Ages of Europe, the church
purposely kept the people uneducated so as to
continue its influence without facing any
accountability. One dreads that the pattern in Pakistan
is similar, where the ruling elite keeps the people
uneducated in order to exploit them for their selfish
Our governments only laid emphasis on giving policy
documents rather than implement them. The only gap
between the policies and literacy is the lack of
The other main issues include lack of proper
monitoring and checks and balances, especially in
public-sector education because of which many ghost
schools have started to appear.
In Pakistan, allocations for education in general and
for enhancement of literacy in particular, have, always
been very low with, 2.3 % of GNP being the highest
figure in 9th Plan (1998-2003). The allocations for
education in terms of percentage of GNP, have been
continuously declining for the last many years (e.g.
2.34 in 1997-98, 2.2 % in 1998-99 and 2.14 % for 1999-
2000). The first three Development Plans (1955-1970)
did not contain any allocations for literacy. Allocations
for literacy started with the non-plan period (1970-78)
in which Rs. 2.3 million were allocated for literacy but
actually only Rs. 0.5 million were spent.
GDP for Education
The GDP for education
is only 2.1 per cent. Even
this is not used honestly.
On the other hand, 60
per cent of the budget is
spent on defence.
Pakistan had minified
0.3% Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) in
educational sector from
2.6% to 2.3%.
Is it Possible to Improve Literacy Levels in Pakistan?
Each One Teach One is an African-
American Proverb. The original author is unknown.
This phrase originated in the United States
during slavery, when Africans were denied education,
including learning to read. Many, if not most slaves
were kept in a state of ignorance about anything
beyond their immediate circumstances which were
under control of owners, the law makers and the
authorities. When a slave learned or was taught to
read, it became his duty to teach someone else,
spawning the phrase "Each one teach one."
Increasing overall literacy…
“Education is one of the key priority areas of the
government of Pakistan, but to increase the overall
literacy rate of the country, it is essential to change the
mindset of the communities, especially in this
Poverty a major factor in
Poverty is also one of the major factors that affect
literacy rate. A survey depicts that 17.6% of the
children are working and supporting their families. In
Pakistan, the private sector provides standard quality
Need of improvement in public
Pakistani government must improve and expand
public sector. Pakistan has to ruminate out of the box
for educational development. A firm framework is
required, according to which there have to be free and
unbiased primary education for men and women.
Corrupt politicians are responsible for the setback to
education. The politicians need managerial
acquaintance, strong determination, and consistency
for the economic development. All the executions
must be free from personal concerns and doldrums.
Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah once said that
'there is no doubt that the future of our state will and
must greatly depend upon the type of education we
give to our children... "We aim at bringing all our
children to schools and to give them quality education
which will open the doors of opportunity and success,"
If we think rationally about
the literacy rate, then 2015
is appearing as the dead
line, because currently 5.1
million people in Pakistan
are uneducated. As, George
Washington Carver said:
“Education is the key to
unlock the golden door of
freedom.” In order to
restrain its freedom
educational evolution is
compulsory for Pakistan.
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