Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood has said that the government is going to launch a new program that relies on technology, especially mobile phones and text messages, to improve the female literacy rate in the country.
According to statistics, one in three girls misses out on primary schooling in Pakistan and at the age of 14, only 13 percent of girls manage to continue their education. In order to turn that around, the government is considering using technology to provide education to girls.
The education minister said that he wants to tap the increased cellphone usage, i.e., 151 million users as of 2018, for improving the literacy rates. He said that his ministry is mulling over a variety of ideas in this regard.
There is a project underway being designed by telecommunications giant Jazz to tackle the issue of illiteracy via mobile devices and text messaging. While the project is still unnamed, the minister was enthusiastic about it.
He also shared the details on the project, saying it will eliminate the need for at least 2.1 million teachers and 700,000 literacy centers. He said that in a conservative country like Pakistan, many people do not want to send their daughters to school, especially when there are no schools nearby.
The minister said that in rural areas, there are often no higher secondary schools. Girls have to travel long distances and parents are reluctant to allow that.
Acquiring education through cell phones can fix this problem, as people who are not even educated know how to use mobile phones now, said the minister.
The education minister also agreed with the need of building more schools while re-thinking the existing ones.