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Pakistan which is a developing country but the illiteracy rate is very high and
it is a big hurdle in the progression of Pakistan. We have studied the illiteracy in
Pakistan and done this secondary research for this hope that our this minor effort
may motivate one of us to do some thing for reducing the illiteracy rate in the

Throughout most of history, most people have been illiterate. In feudal society, for
example, the ability to read and write was value only to the clergy and aristocracy. The first
known reference to “literate laymen” did not appear until the end of the 14th century. Illiteracy
wasn’t seen as a problem until after the invention of printing in the 15th century. The first
significant decline came with the reformation when translation of the Bible into the vernacular
became widespread and Protestant converts were taught to read it. Revolutionary political
movements from the 18th to the 20th century generally included an attack on illiteracy as one of
their goals, with the former Soviet Union, China and Cuba, being among the most successful in
the 20th century.

The exact nature of the criterion varies, so that illiteracy must be defined in each case
before the term can be used in a meaningful way. In 1930, the United States Bureau of the
Census defined and said as illiterate, any person over ten years of age who was unable to read
and write in any language. By the next census (1940), however, the concept of “functional”
illiteracy was adopted and any person with less than five years of schooling was considered
functionally illiterate, or unable to engage in social activities in which illiteracy is assured, and
assumed. Since that time, the concept of functional illiteracy has grown in popularity among
American educators, but the standards of definition have changed with the increasing complexity
of most social activities. By 1970, the United States Office of Education considered at least six
years of schooling (and sometimes as many as eight) to be the minimum criterion for functional
literacy. In 1990, over 5% of the adult population living in the United States didn’t meet that

The United States, which defines illiteracy as the inability to read or write a simple message
in any language, has conducted a number of surveys on world illiteracy. In the first survey in
1950, at least 44% of the world’s population were found to be illiterate. A 1978 study showed
the rate to have dropped to 32.5%, by 1990 illiteracy worldwide had dropped to about 27%, and
by 1998 to 16%. However, a study by the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) published
in 1998 predicted that the world illiteracy rate would increase in the 21st century because only a
quarter of the world’s children were in school by the end of the 20 th century. The highest
illiteracy rates were found in the less developed nations of Africa, Asia and South America; the
lowest in Australia, Japan, North Korea and the more technologically advanced nations of
Europe and North America. Using the United Nations definition of illiteracy, the United States
and Canada have an overall illiteracy rate about 1%. In certain disadvantaged areas, however,
such as the rural South in the Unites States, the illiteracy rate is much higher.
Nearly one-sixth of the 6 billion people in the world cannot read or write, according to a survey
published by UNICEF. More than half those denied educations are girls, UNICEF says in its
annual reports “the States of the World’s Children 1999”. The study found worsening
educational conditions in the former Soviet union, where levels had been high. Apart from
deepening divisions between rich computerized societies and those without even the rudimentary
tools of knowledge in the third world, the report says, illiteracy has a direct relationship to
important health indicators and fertility rates.

An overwhelming percentage of illiterates are in country with high population growth, like India
and Pakistan, where better education for women and children could significantly reduce other
problems. Fertility drops sharply as education rises. In Brazil, illiterate women have an average
of 6.5 children and mothers with secondary-school educations have an average of 2.5 children.

UNICEF and other groups that work with children say education should be guaranteed
under the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. But the intentions of the treaty are
overwhelmed by a host of problems including economic crises in countries like Russia and
Indonesia. Widespread ethnic conflict has made refugees of millions of children and destroyed
their schools at a time when international aid for education projects is decreasing. Uprooted
children are often turned into soldiers by military forces. The United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata is among the figures who are lobbying governments
to add money for classrooms for refugees and communities where displaced people eventually
return. Education often has to complete with more pressing immediate need like foods and
shelter, although refugee experts agree that one of the most effective ways to create a sense of
stability and normality among displaced children, many often of them orphans, is the
establishment of classrooms, however rudimentary.

Schooling is also often denied to young people because governments don’t give schools
a high priority or make it easy for families to send children: “Often when we interview street
kids they say they are on the street because they were kicked out at school” said Yodon Thonden,
counsel in the children’s rights divisions of Human Rights Watch, a right group in New-York.
In its survey, UNICEF found that formerly high educational levels were in “free fall” in the
countries that made up the Soviet Union, as cost rise, unpaid or poorly paid teachers are
demoralized and buildings become dilapidated. Even if some rates are decreasing, illiteracy still
is an issue in the actual world.

Illiteracy definitions:

It needs to be highlighted that from census to census the definition of illiteracy has been
undergoing a change, resultantly the literacy figure has vascillated irregularly during the
last 5 census. An update of the five censuses is as under:
1. Census Year Definition of illiteracy
a) 1951 Census One who can not read a clear print in any language.
b) 1961 Census One who is not able to read with understanding a simple letter in any
c) 1972 Census One who is not able to read and write in some language with
d) 1981 Census One who can not read newspaper andwrite a simple letter

Illiteracy in Pakistan:

It has been sixty three years of independence but still pakietan could not reduced the desired
percentage of illiteracy rate. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and
according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), it
is 55 per cent and Pakistan stands at 160th in total countries of the world.
A nation cannot achieve development without taking any meaningful steps for sound educational
development. Pakistan is one of the developing countries that is thriving for improvement in this
area. Each and every government has launched a stream of five year plans that were arranged so
as to fulfill the Millennium Development goals. However all resulted in vain since there was no
or meager improvement in this regard. A lower literacy rate is an outcome despite such acts.
Since the inception, education is the most neglected area and the situation did not improve
despite of taken measure to educate people. Even there is a large population who did not receive
basic education. It was 15 years back, the government allotted 2.6 % of the G.D.P for the
progression of education however, to add injury to an insult, it was limited to 1.8% and the
situation got worst.
There are other developing nations like Turkey which allot most of its G.D.P to Education
department, Pakistan ignored this department. With such non serious attitude towards Education,
and there remain a dearth of well -educated and skillful individuals. Among the SAARC Nations,
Pakistan is at the sixth and at the 159th position among the 174 World countries. According to a
Government Official Report, the literacy rate in Pakistan is 54 % which is doubtful.

Provincial Comparison in Literacy/Illiteracy Rates:

At present (2004), the highest adult literacy rate is in Islamabad Capital Territory (82%)
followed by Punjab 56.14%; Sindh 51.48%; NWFP 46.17% and Balochistan 37.18%. The
province of Balochistan is the most disadvantaged as regard literacy rate with 63% over-all
illiteracy and 77% female illiterates. Around 90% rural females in Balochistan province are
illiterate. Male literacy rate is higher than females in all the provinces and regions of the country.
Number of factors may be attributed to low literacy rate of rural females. These, interalia,
include; lack of awareness regarding importance of education and literacy, lack of easy access to
schools and literacy centers and local social taboos/customs etc.
Total number of illiterates of the 10+ age group in Pakistan are around 50 million against 54
million literate. Out of it 30 million are women and 20 million men.




1 Islamabad 72.38 166,708

1 Islamabad 70.20 149,027
2 Rawalpindi 70.45 740,625
2 Rawalpindi 67.50 670,956
3 Karachi 65.26 2,405,915
3 Karachi 63.58 2,093,633
4 Lahore 64.66 1,650,853
4 Lahore 62.98 1,421,602
5 Jhelum 63.92 247,880
5 Jhelum 60.00 225,975
6 Gujrat 62.18 562,450
6 Gujrat 57.87 513,255
7 Sialkot 58.92 799,630
7 Sialkot 55.72 703,653
8 Quetta 57.07 231,116
8 Quetta 54.56 200,362
9 Chakwal 56.72 346.276
9 Gujranwala 53.67 906,008
10 Abbottabad 56.61 273,570
10 Chakwal 51.57 319,963
11 Gujranwala 56.55 1,049,510
11 Abbottabad 51.41 245,001
12 Haripur 53.72 230,737
12 Faislabad 49.15 1,634,920
13 Narowal 52.65 416,642
13 Haripur 48.07 209,065
14 Faislabad 51.94 1,880,742
14 Narowal 47.26 371,339
15 Toba Tek Singh 50.50 575,767
15 Toba Tek Singh 46.95 504,959
16 Attock 49.27 474,779
16 Attock 44.65 426,784
17 Mandi Bahauddin 47.44 438,461
17 Sukkur 44.54 281,933
18 Sukkur 46.62 330,593
18 Mandi Bahauddin 42.93 391,738
19 Sargodha 46.30 1,023,488
19 Sargodha 42.81 893,353
20 Hyderabad 44.25 1,134,367
20 Hyderabad 42.15 967,317
21 Kohat 44.06 214,258
21 Multan 41.66 1,024,972
22 Sahiwal 43.90 740,641
22 Sahiwal 41.18 639,863
23 Shekhupura 43.78 1,309,213
23 Shekhupura 40.72 1,122,309
24 Multan 43.38 1,229,392
24 Kohat 40.10 180,929
26 Noshera 42.50 347,518
26 Noshera 39.32 293,339
27 Karak 41.92 159,831
27 Mianwali 38.69 365,175
28 Peshawar 41.75 801,665
28 Karak 37.51 133,682
29 Hafizabad 40.74 351,799
29 Khanewal 37.21 739,689
30 Khushab 40.50 386,715
30 Hafizabad 37.20 307,560
31 Chitral 40.30 13,031
31 Khushab 36.51 340,707
32 Khanewal 39.94 868,572
32 Naushahro Feroze 36.16 377,487
33 Malakand P.A 39.14 440.045
33 Layyah 35.83 387,632
34 Naushahro Feroze 39.14 440,045
34 Okara 35.12 836,240
35 Layyah 38.68 440,045
35 Malakand P.A 34,67 150,349
36 Okara 37.79 975,309
36 Jhang 34.28 1,085,460
37 Jhang 37.12 1,261,071
37 Vehari 34.10 781,575
38 Vehari 36.79 922,771
38 Chitral 33.80 109,955
39 Mardan 36.45 621,769
39 Kasur 33.57 875,298
40 Mansehra 36.32 506,766
40 Dadu 33.53 631,741
41 Kasur 36.21 1,044,193
41 Bahawalpur 33.35 901,908
42 Swabi 36.03 442,268
42 Bahawalnagar 32.68 794,054
43 Dadu 35.56 739,667
43 Khairpur 32.42 559,167
44 Khairpur 35.50 653,975
44 Mardan 32.29 523,256
45 Bahawalnagar 35.07 936,819
45 Larkana 32.03 698,785
46 Bahawalpur 35.03 1,084,887
46 Pakpattan 31.80 502,471
47 Larkana 34.95 814,889
47 Nawabshah 31.79 401,651
48 Pakpattan 34.70 588,309
48 Mansehra 31.76 428,816
49 Ziarat 34.34 14,293
49 Ziarat 31.71 11,965
50 Bhakkar 34.17 477,011
50 Swabi 31.27 378,604
51 Nawabshah 34.13 474,088
51 Bhakkar 31.03 401,935
52 Rahim Yar Khan 33.09 1,398,416
52 Rahim Yar Khan 30.93 1,170,401
53 Bannu 32.11 294,486
53 Shikarpur 29.85 334,356
54 Shikarpur 31.94 393,354
54 Pishin 29.62 123,272
55 Panjgur 31.35 95,140
55 Bannu 29.29 248,697
56 D.I. Khan 31.28 389,067
56 D.I. Khan 29.27 321,442
57 Pishin 31.14 157,231
57 Sanghar 28.93 564,260
58 Charsada 31.11 469,586
58 Panjgur 28.93 75,883
59 Sanghar 30.87 675,226
59 D.G Khan 28.71 596,503
60 D.G Khan 30.61 733,913
60 Mirpurkhas 28.57 599,216
61 Hangu 30.50 141,462
61 Lodhran 27.80 456,958
62 Mirpurkhas 30.40 722,547
62 Hangu 27.70 113,982
63 Lodhran 29.90 552,644
63 Charsada 27.34 394,596
64 Lower-Dir 29.90 313,515
64 Ghotki 27.26 376,149
65 Lakki Marwat 29.71 217,398
65 Muzaffargarh 26.92 994,168
66 Ghotki 29.01 450,081
66 Swat 26.58 472.079
67 Swat 28.75 588,304 67 Lower-Dir 26.40 254,530
68 Muzaffargarh 28.45 1,226,326
68 Lakki Marwat 25.86 183,644
69 Mastung 27.58 79,840
69 Mastung 25.26 67,761
70 Kech 27.51 194,428
70 Changhi 24.38 79,440
71 Chiaghi 26.99 96,575
71 Kech 24.36 165,303
72 Tank 26.25 113,459
72 Tank 23.95 93,182
73 Sibi 25.47 93,838
73 Sibi 23.82 79,172
74 Gawadar 25.47 92.828
74 Badin 23.09 480,463
75 Badin 24.63 572,742
75 Gawadar 22.40 78,118
76 Jacobabad 23.66 705,112
76 Jacobabad 22.03 597,147
77 Buner 22.62 252,534
77 Thatta 21.52 490,587
78 Lasbela 22.30 167,775
78 Loralai 19.99 133,680
79 Thatta 22.14 586,524
79 Lasbela 19.98 141,102
80 Upper Dir 22.21 285,151
80 Buner 19.55 207,032
81 Rajanpur 20.73 559,510
81 Rajanpur 19.35 460,327
82 Loralai 20.47 162,114
82 Upper Dir 19.03 223,786
83 Kalat 19.86 123,145
83 Tharparkar 17.57 374,684
84 Jafarabad 18.51 232,626
84 Kalat 17.53 101,245
85 Tharparkar 18.32 474,908
85 Batagram 17.34 132,329
86 Batagram 18.31 166,203
86 Jafarabad 16.53 199,687
87 Killa Saifullah 17.55 100,032
87 Killa Saifullah 16.45 78,909
88 Khuzdar 17.46 226,817
88 Zhob 16.27 110,402
89 Zhob 16.78 143,187
89 Khuzdar 15.93 187,275
90 Killa Abdullah 16.10 198,708
90 Killa Abdullah 15.53 157,385
91 Bolan 15.78 163,587
91 Bolan 14.55 135,863
92 Barkhan 15.67 58,290
92 Barkhan 14.07 49,060
93 Kharan 15.05 114,855
93 Kharan 13.98 93,238
94 Awaran 14.79 66,148
94 Shangle 13.87 192,427
95 Shangle 14.73 241,701
95 Awaran 12.57 55,101
96 Naseerabad 12.69 141,469
96 Jhal Magsi 11.57 52,350
97 Jhal Magsi 12.28 63,556
97 Kohlu 11.47 51,753
98 Kohlu 12.15 60,858
98 Naseerabad 11.45 120,665
99 Dera Bughti 11.73 101,919
99 Dera Bughti 11.36 84,232
100 Kohistan 11.08 274,919
100 Kohistan 10.50 213,399
101 Musa Khel 10.37 76,265
101 Musa Khel 10.24 58,482

Reasons of illiteracy in Pakistan:

There are problems ranging from social, cultural, religious, political, psychological and
economic spheres. If one problem is tried to be solved, other prove to be more gigantic in
proportion and without solution of these problems and with out provision of a viable mechanism,
all the efforts of sustainability are not more than just a dream. Following can be the main causes
of low literacy in Pakistan:


Our country is classified into the 3rd World countries mainly due to the connection of poverty
with education or Literacy Rate. Poverty is the biggest disadvantage and the largest obstacle in
the development of our country. Our country is an agricultural country and the profession of
many people living in Pakistan is with this vast category. The people in this category and the
farmers are unable to feed their families fully and as a result, development stops and population
increases. The country where 40% of people are living below poverty line can how get
education? According to UNICEF, 17.6% children work and support their families. So, in such
conditions, role and support of Government becomes inevitable but Government is continuously
paying no serious attention to these demands.

Population Expansion

This great increase in the population of the Pakistan is a hindrance in the correct and efficient
caring of the family. That is why many of the people are unable to provide such and such level of
education to their children and so the literacy rate of the country on the whole decreases. The
second main problem is related to the people living in villages and other small places. It is said
that the population of the villages is many times more than of the urban people. This is why the
people cannot teach and train their children and a vast number of illiterate children remain in the

Feudal lords and Wadera system

Pakistani politics is govern by feudal system. Feudal lords and wadera system is a big hurdle in
the realization of dream of better literacy rate. Statistics show that there are tremendous
disparities in the country on the basis of gender, class and regions. There is overall a miserable
literacy rate and to further worsen it, women have even less representation. On national level,
their literacy rate is less than half compared to that of men, and this gap attains magnitude when
we turn to rural areas where it is 5%, the lowest in the world for any class or gender. These
feudal lords, waderas and sardars enjoy political power and using it as a strong weapon in
depriving the people from getting education; as is evident from Baluchistan and others areas of
Punjab and Sindh. They are doing this all just for their personal benefits and by doing so they
make the people serve them and be loyal to them.

Low allocation of Budget:

At present, Pakistan is among those twelve countries of the world which are spending less than
2.1% of GDP on education, whereas, china is spending 2.82%, India 3.5% and countries like
USA, Uk, Japan and Italy are spending more than 5% of GDP on education. The Government of
Pakistan should come out of hibernation and lethargy and should allocate at least 4% of GDP.
According to Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2008 by UNESCO, Pakistan is
spending 2.4 per cent of its GDP on education against the UNESCO-recommended norm of a
minimum of 4 per cent and against 3.8 per cent spent by India, 7.5 per cent by Maldives, 4.7 per
cent by Iran and 3.4 per cent by Nepal.

Education Budget in Pakistan

(1995-96 to 2008-09) - - Year % of GDP

1995-96 - - 2.00
1996-97 - - 2.62
1997-98 - - 2.34
1998-99 - - 2.40
1999-00 - - 1.70
2000-01 - - 1.82
2001-02 - - 1.79
2002-03 - - 1.86
2003-04 - - 2.20
2004-05 - - 2.15
2005-06 - - 2.24
2006-07 - - 2.50
2007-08 - - 2.47
2008-09 - - 2.10
Source: Economic Survey (2002-2003, 2005-06, and 2008-09, Finance Division, Government of

The effects of illiteracy often negatively impact a nation’s ability to develop its human resources.
Countries with a high illiteracy rate are more likely to be disadvantaged in the global economy.
If a populace is not literate, it cannot be as involved in high tech jobs. New careers in the
sciences, mathematics, and technology are primarily established in countries that have literate
populations. Another major effect of illiteracy is not having access to basic information that is
distributed via books, newspapers, or the Internet. This type of information could include
practical advice to increase the quality of life, such as how to participate in microfinance
projects. In short, illiteracy does not encourage positive social change, personal growth, or the
preservation and development of language and culture.


Education is the main vehicle for socio-economic development. Pakistan is blessed with
natural and human resources, but these resources can only be harnessed and exploited fully when
citizens are educated and skilled. Unfortunately, about half of adult population in Pakistan can
not read and write. With respect to Human Development Index, Pakistan has been placed by
UNDP at 136 position, lower than some of its regional neighbors like Sri Lanka (99), Maldives
(100), India (128), and Myanmar (132), mainly due to its low literacy rate and low primary level
enrolment. In the area of education, Pakistan is lagging behind other countries in South Asia,
even lower than Nepal, Bangladesh, and Maldives. Educational position of various South and
West Asian countries in Human Development Index, as assessed by UNESCO in its 2008 EFA
Global Monitoring is given below:

Pakistan and Education Development Index (2008)

Country Maldives Iran Myanmar India Bangladesh Nepal Pakistan

EDI Ranking 74 90 94 105 107 110 120

Source: EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, Annex Table No 1, page 203

Pakistan is sixth most populous country of the world. Its young population is increasing, and
government needs to invest more on education and training. Due to rapid population growth and
inability of the formal education system to bring all children into school, illiterate population has
increased from 22 million in 1961 to 50 million by 1998. It is feared that by 2010, illiterate
population in Pakistan may have risen to 50 million +. Although Pakistan has recently increased
its focus on educational development, yet its Net Primary Enrolment Rate is among the lowest in
South Asia. The following table gives a comparative picture:

Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) in South and West Asian countries (2005)

Country Iran India Bangladesh Maldives Nepal Sri Lanka Pakistan

NER % 95 89 94 79 79 97 68

Source: EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, Annex Table No 5, page 289

Apart form the data issued by the Ministry of Education and reported to international
agencies, a recent survey (PSLM 2005-06) conducted by the Statistics Division, Govt. of
Pakistan, presents a more dismal state of affairs by reporting Net Enrolment Rate of only 53% at
primary level in the country. The following table offers details of actual field situation;

Table 2.9 (a): Net Enrolment Rate at the Primary Level (Age 5-9-excluding Katchi Class)

Area/Gender Both Genders Boys Girls

All Areas 53 56 48

Urban Areas 65 66 64

Rural Areas 47 53 42

Source: PSLM Survey (2005-06), Statistics Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Govt. of
Above statistics indicate overall aggregated situation of the country. Educational picture in
under developed areas and districts is bleaker. For example, only 23% rural girls are lucky
enough to be enrolled in primary schools in Baluchistan as compared to almost twice ratio (47%)
in rural Punjab. Only 17% rural women in Sindh can read and write, compared with 67% female
literacy in rural Punjab (PSLM 2005-06)

Similarly, in 55 districts of the country, half of the school age children are not enrolled in
primary schools, and 21 of these districts are in Baluchistan alone. According to the National
Education Census Report of the Ministry of Education (2006), about 31% children drop out
before completion of primary education. Out of 100 fortunate children enrolled in Grade 1, only
22 reach Grade 10, and only13 are able to pass Secondary School examination. There are certain
factors responsible for this wastage and poor performance, which need to be addressed by the
future governments, if Pakistan is serious to achieve Education for All goals.

Ratio of budget indicates the level of importance given by a nation to the education.
Historically, Pakistan has been spending less on education, as compared to other countries in the
region. UNESCO has set the norm of a minimum of 4% of GDP for education. The following
table provides information on education budget as percentage of GDP.

Education budget as % of GDP

Country Iran India Bangladesh Maldives Nepal Pakistan

Education budget 4.7 3.8 2.4% 7.5% 3.4% 2.4%

% %

Pakistan has committed to achieve Education for All goals set in Dakar in April 2000, and
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). During 2000-2007, Pakistan has taken a number of
steps towards the achievement of these goals. These include preparation of a National Action
Plan for EFA (2001-2015), launching of Education Sector Reforms (ESR) and provision of
additional funding to the provinces, abolition of school fees, provision of free textbooks, stipend
for girl students, and slow but consistent enhancement of educational budget. International
community and civil society organizations appreciate and acknowledge these positive strategies
and achievements of Pakistan. However, Pakistan has to go a long way. Keeping in view the
gigantic size of problems of illiteracy and out of school children in Pakistan, all these efforts
need to be augmented and sustained during the next regime also. (This report has been taken
from UNESCO report 2005)

Pakistan is a developing country, with a number of problems seeking solutions. Although it is
abundant with human and natural resources but due to lack of proper planning and unstable
political situations, it is still lagging behind many developing countries. A survey has found that
among the developing countries of the Asia Pacific region, Pakistan is at the bottom of the
literacy rate as two out of three Pakistanis are illiterate. Education is foremost important factor
for development of any country. Following can be the some suggestion regarding reduction in

One of the best solutions to solving the stubborn problem of illiteracy is to teach parents to read,
so that they can in turn teach their children. In a document published by the Departments of
Education of Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and others, Judith Schickendanz explains that “Children
learn about written language in a … socially mediated way…. Children also learn about the
functions of written language as they observe and help parents make lists, write letter to family
members or friends, or read menus in a restaurant” (1999). If the adult women are educated first,
each generation will be able to read and write, since mothers are the first educators of children.
The women will teach their children, both male and female, who will in turn teach their children.
Once more people in a society are literate, that society tends to develop further capacities, and
further value literacy.

According to the Education Sector Reforms Programme (ESRP)

ESRP survey, "Two out of every three Pakistani adults are illiterate; 45.3 percent people have no
access to early childhood care and education; 40.3 percent have no access to primary schools and
76.1 percent to secondary school. It shows that 58.9 percent of the Pakistani population is still
It said that Pakistan’s primary school teachers are overworked and under-trained as there is only
one teacher for 51 students at an average.
In 2001, the government finalized an Action Plan 2002-2006 under the ESRP. The plan aimed at
increasing the overall literacy rate from 49 percent in 2000-01 to 60 percent by 2005-06; the
primary school enrolment rate from 66 to 76 percent; middle school enrolment rate from 47.5 to
55 percent; the secondary school enrolment from 29.5 to 40 percent and higher education
enrolment from 2.6 to 5 percent.
However, even poor countries have shown that where there is the political will, much can be
achieved. Cuba was able to mobilize nearly 270,000 adults to reduce illiteracy from 23 to 3
percent within a few years of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution. National Commission on Human
Development (NCHD). The NCHD was formed in 2002 by President Musharraf to support
government departments in areas of education. It provided some hope by providing numerous
community-based schools, adult literacy centers and feeder teachers across a majority of districts
in the country.
The only problem with Pakistan is that we can’t formulate a proper plane which can be
implemented for few years. Rather we kept on changing planes from year to year.
Some other measures can be used, which are

 Availability of physical facilities (sheer existence of schools or sufficient numbers of

classrooms, correlated with the adequate number of teachers.
 Increasing Youth Literacy through Formal Schooling and Non-formal Education.
 Rightly using the funds given by foreign donor financial institution. Government should
ensure check and balance in usage of these funds for rightly purpose.
 Non-formal Education for Young Adults and the Workforce.
 From Policy to Action: Implementing the Strategies: the government should implement
the policies and strategies. For this purpose the policy makers should partnerships with
UN and other international organization and seek help from them.
 At last the political parties of Pakistan should take this as a serious issue and take
instrumental steps to increase the literacy rate if Pakistan is aiming to progress in real


Human capital is an important asset and its development is vital for sustained economic
progress. Literacy level is an important indicator of human development Pakistan’s case in this
regard is far from satisfactory. It lags behind even among the developing countries. In addition,
there exist large disparities in literacy rates across various regions of the country. Various steps
have been taken by government to identify the areas which are still lagging behind other parts of
the country in terms of literacy levels and are unable to play their role in the development of
human capital of the country. Various works regarding this issue in Pakistan indicate that more
than three-fourth districts of the country are under represented in terms of literacy levels. This
includes a large portion of Baluchistan, Southern part of Punjab, the rural Sindh, and upper
NWFP. A large proportion of literate population is concentrated in the national and provincial
capitals. In general, Sindh lags behind in case of rural areas whereas NWFP in case of females.
Baluchistan is the province that needs the greatest attention. The analyses also indicate a close
association between literacy levels and general economic development. Areas with low literacy
levels are, in general, also among the less economically underdeveloped areas. An encouraging
sign is the general decline in disparities in literacy levels over time. Moreover, the least literate
areas have shown a significant improvement over time. However, these areas still require a great
deal of effort to be come at par with other parts of the country.

Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006

Munir Ahmed Choudhry
April 2005

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