How to Improve Literacy Rate in Pakistan through Non-formal Education

Education is the only source of human capital formation and producing responsible citizens in the country. Education is one source which can single-handedly turns the fortune for any nation and can be the best and most appropriate solution for any of the respective problem, any state is going through. It is, therefore, considered as a prerequisite for combating poverty, raising productivity, improving living conditions, protecting the environment and making enlightened citizen. 

Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” 

According to Malcolm X “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. 
How to Improve Literacy Rate in Pakistan

Pakistan is one of those countries which are going through so many problems and it cannot be wrong to say that the nation is being surrounded by several threatening problems, amongst such problems education problem is on the top of the list and it is the fact that many of the problems have been created due to the deficiency of education in the local public. Further, poverty alleviation and integrated human development, universalizing access and quality education, women empowerment and elimination of all forms of discrimination, community mobilization and strengthening the partnership of Public and Private Sector are the priority goals and commitments of the government. The Vision 2025 provides a balanced educational approach, politically united, economically sound and prosperous, morally and spiritually elevated nation’s programs to meet the 21st-century challenges’. Presently, Pakistan needs massive improvements in the education sector as it is utterly lagging behind in the literacy rate both at tertiary and Higher Education level. Pakistan ranks at its lowest literacy ratio when compared with any other advanced country or even a small island ‘Sri Lanka’. The state of affairs of education in Pakistan has turned groom and pale. Resultantly, education had always been the major concern of successive governments in Pakistan since its inception. The progress of a country or a nation depends on quality education. 

As per the Article 25-A in the constitution of Pakistan, it is the duty of the governing body to provide free quality education to the age group of 5 years to 16 years, but this is not being practiced. So to improve the education the basic step is that the education should be made compulsory and in this regard, the government should come forward and play its vital role so that this basic problem should be resolved. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, approved in 2010, devolved responsibility for education delivery and spending to provincial governments. The federal ministry retains some limited mandates, mainly in curriculum development, accreditation and the financing of research and development.

According to the latest Pakistan Education Statistics Report by AEPAM, Ministry of Education Pakistan, there are 22.84 million children out of school. UNESCO´s latest published figures suggest Pakistan has the second highest number of out of school children globally after Nigeria. It doesn’t get any better in adulthood, as Pakistan also has the highest number of illiterate adults in the world. These two reports have confirmed and boldly highlighted the fact that Pakistan is currently facing an education crisis. 

To top it all off, we have gender inequality issues in education. Out of the 5.06 million children not going to primary school, 60% are girls. According to recent country statistics, compared to a girl, a boy in Pakistan has a 15% higher chance of going to primary school. Unfortunately, the picture at the secondary level is even bleaker. Only 612,531 girls are enrolled at the higher secondary level with a high dropout rate pre-matric level. 

Faisalabad contributes over 5% toward Pakistan's annual GDP; therefore, it is often referred to as the "Manchester of Pakistan" Faisalabad's average annual GDP is $20.55billion (USD), of which 21% comes from agriculture. In 2013, Faisalabad's literacy rate of 46% for females was noticeably lower than the 69% for males; rural literacy was 49% compared to 74% in urban areas.

However, all is not lost. NGOs are working tirelessly to contribute their due role in this field also, if I may say, ‘put things right’; but this really isn’t just a one organization task. The calamity is just too big for one organization to handle. System Foundation, Faisalabad is one of the NGO established in 1992 by a team of Retired Professors with the mission to confront the Challenges of Literacy shortfall in Pakistan and after day and night continue struggle they formulated a Syllabi for short track matriculation. This peculiar in nature development was example less in the history of Pakistan, because through this mechanism totally illiterate persons who did not attend even single day in the school would be able to matriculate just in two years. This NGO is running with the help of local donors and provides education free of cost and also books and stipend are provided to the students to make them regular. Since no organization can do this huge task independently so they welcome the interested community of Pakistan to expand this program to the whole country.

Guest Post by Mr. Muhammad Ejaz

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