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Literacy rates continue to fall – A province wide review

Literacy rate in Pakistan saw an annual drop of 2.0 percent to 58 percent during fiscal year 2015-16. The decline in literacy rate has been observed in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab while it remained dormant in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

The literacy rate in Balochistan has dropped to 41 percent in fiscal year 2016 as compared to 44 percent in fiscal 2015. Sindh has witnessed a massive fall of 5.0 percent to 55 percent in fiscal year 2016 as against 60 percent the previous fiscal. The rate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has remained motionless at 53 percent since fiscal year 2014 while Punjab achieved a 1.0 percent decline in the rate as compared to the rate the last fiscal.

The total number of enrolments at the national level during fiscal year 2016 stood at 46.2 million as compared to 43.9 million during fiscal year 2015, depicting an increase of 5.0 per cent.

The urban-rural gap is still wide in terms of literacy rate. It stands at 74 percent in urban areas and 49 percent in rural areas. There is the widening gap between rural and urban education systems. The overall literacy rate among the male and female populations is 81 percent and 68 percent respectively.

In Punjab, the total literacy rate is 54 percent among female population and 59 per cent among male population. Balochistan has 24 percent female and 56 percent male literacy rate. The figure is 15 percent for females and 48 percent for males in rural areas while in urban, it is 44 percent and 76 percent for females and males respectively. The literacy count in Khyber is 36 per cent in case of females and 72 percent in case of males. In rural areas, percentage for females is 33 and males 70. While in urban areas, it is 52 percent and 77 percent for females and males respectively.

In Sindh, 44 percent females and 67 percent males are literate. In rural areas, it becomes 19 percent in case of female population and 51 percent in case of male population. In urban areas, it is 65 percent and 80 percent for female and male population respectively.

Expenditure on education as percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) is increasing at a slow speed at 2.3 percent during the fiscal year 2016 as compared to 2.2 percent in 2015.

Educationists and experts say the government should allocate 4.0 percent of GDP to the education sector. Education starts from the birth of a child and goes on till the death. It is an important factor both in the day-to-day success of the child. It contributes to the personal, social, cultural and economic fulfillment of the future adult. Primary education in Pakistan helps children to develop their skills. It is of prime importance for the building of career.

Pakistan is the signatory to the Millennium Development Goals declaration. These goals form the basis for national development efforts for the increase of literacy level in Pakistan. According to a report published by a subsidiary of the Federal Ministry of Education itself, there are 22.6 million out-of-school children. Million receive a substandard education. Only seven percent of the primary school pass-out students are classified as literate.


Primary education in Pakistan is accepted as a basic right of everyone. The constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 clearly lays down the provision in Article 37 (b) that: The state of Pakistan shall remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory primary and secondary education within minimum possible period.

Net primary enrolment of Pakistan remains the lowest in South Asia and the same is true for the annual primary completion rates.

The terrorism and the overall law and order instability inside Pakistan has hit the children education the most The number of terrorist attacks on educational institutions has increased. There were 82 attacks from 2000 to 2008, and 642 attacks from 2009 to 2013. On 16th December 2014 seven gunmen massacred 144 students in cold blood in the Army Public School of Peshawar. According to a New York Times report, from 2015 to 2017, the number of these heinous attacks has fallen. Extremist organizations have discouraged people from receiving an education.

More than half of the out-of-school population of Pakistan is women. The orthodox environment does not allow women to prosper. The Pakistani society has been unfair to its women. The ulema have also not played their part when it comes to assuring civil rights for women.

In October of 2016, the World Economic Forum’s report ranked Pakistan 143rd on the gender equality index out of 144 countries. The education spending is still around 2 percent of the GDP. This has created the Pakistan’s overall progress.

The deliberate neglect of education is one of the reasons behind illiteracy and intolerance running unchecked in the country. There are the luxurious private schools, which only allow admissions to the elite class. Their beautiful buildings, large swimming pools and lush green playgrounds and the beautiful uniforms make the government school graduate a revolutionary within.

Take the example of Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammed, who remained the longest-serving Prime Minister of the country, holding the post for a period of 22 years. He made Malaysia prosperous by allocating 30 percent of the annual budget on education.

Education in China since 1949 is a best example. Chinese made education a priority, and made it highly competitive. Much of the progress China sees today is owed to the 1949 revolution.

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