Il­lit­er­acy in Pak­istan


With a pop­u­la­tion of more than 180 mil­lion, Pak­istan bears the bur­den of one of the most il­lit­er­ate coun­tries of Asia. About half of the male pop­u­la­tion is il­lit­er­ate and two third of the fe­male pop­u­la­tion can’t even write their names. Gen­er­ally, the de­gree of ma­tric­u­la­tion clas­si­fies a per­son as be­ing lit­er­ate. In our sur­round­ing re­gion, Pak­istan with its 58.7% lit­er­acy rate is even lower than Nepal and Bangladesh, which have lit­er­acy rates of 64.7 and 61.5 per­cent re­spec­tively. Other coun­tries like the Mal­dives and Sri Lanka have achieved far more im­pres­sive re­sults given that above 90 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion in both th­ese coun­tries is lit­er­ate. Even In­dia has a 61 per­cent lit­er­acy rate, de­spite its enor­mous pop­u­la­tion. Ac­cord­ing to lit­er­acy rate es­ti­mates by last year’s Na­tional Eco­nomic Sur­vey, there seem to be tremen­dous vari­ance be­tween lit­er­acy rates in the Provinces. Balochis­tan has the low­est av­er­age since only 33 per­cent of the Prov­ince is lit­er­ate com­pared to the na­tional av­er­age of over 50 per­cent. More­over, only 27 per­cent of women in Balochis­tan are lit­er­ate. This prob­lem of il­lit­er­acy ex­ists both due to broad pol­icy hur­dles and some on-ground fac­tors. In pol­i­cy­mak­ing, it is the lack of political will, which can be seen due to in­signif­i­cant amount of bud­get al­lo­cated to­wards ed­u­ca­tion, de­lays in the pass­ing of funds, and in­sti­tu­tional in­ef­fi­ciency and cor­rup­tion. Re­sul­tantly, the lack of suf­fi­cient in­fra­struc­ture in the form of school build­ings and facilities, low pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity of teach­ers due to the non-avail­abil­ity of proper train­ing in­sti­tutes, un­even teacher-stu­dent ra­tios, lack of teach­ing aids, as well as low pub­lic aware­ness con­cern­ing the value of ed­u­ca­tion, all con­trib­ute to­wards con­tin­u­a­tion of low ed­u­ca­tional rates at the ground level. — Karachi

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