At a recent meeting attended by representatives of the federal units from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltisitan, and firms such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the major issue of illiteracy was being discussed. Speakers at the event noted that Pakistan faces a major issue with over 40 percent of the adults completely illiterate.
The meeting was held by the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) on the development of a National Plan of Action (NPA) to achieve a 90 percent literacy rate in Pakistan by 2025.
Chairperson NCHD, Razina Alam Khan, said “NCHD and representatives of all provinces will have to jointly accept the challenge of enhancing literacy rates up to 90 per cent by improving enrolment in schools, stopping dropouts, and promoting adult literacy, besides initiating skill development programs in the country.”
She added that, “In such an alarming situation, it is extremely important to address the illiteracy problem on a priority basis.” NCHD has a Vision 2025, with guidelines and a roadmap towards addressing the problem of illiteracy in Pakistan.
During the meeting, it was noted that Net Enrolment Rate (NER) in Pakistan is 72 percent, however, the dropout rate of 33 percent has a major effect on the literacy rate in Pakistan. The raw figure for illiterate Pakistani citizens is close to 57 million.
Razina Khan vowed to achieve the target literacy rate of 90 percent and 100 percent enrolment under the Vision 2025 via a renewed strategy. NCHD will be establishing 12,000 new literacy centers in less developed and remote regions in Pakistan. She said that PC-1 of the National Training Institute has been approved, which will help in improving skill development in adult education with the utmost priority.
57 Million Pakistani adults are illiterate.
NCHD Chairperson also noted that a training institute for literacy and non-formal education will be established in Islamabad to develop, research and train all relevant people on non-formal basic education (NFBE). She said that literacy centers will be set up in seminaries and special courses will be brought up for taxi drivers, laborers and gardeners. A post literacy program has been formulated by NCHD to engage new literates after the completion of their courses.
The UNESCO asked the representatives of the education sector to come up with innovative ideas to increase the literacy level. JICA representatives suggested to involve the community directly to better understand the problem. Of course, increase in efforts towards education would require government funds, which have been continuously cut to make room for infrastructure development and laptop schemes.