Illiteracy in Pakistan; Causes, Consequences, Solutions

Illiteracy in Pakistan remains a pressing issue, with a 62.3% illiteracy rate reported by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. Causes include poverty, unemployment, lack of resources, inadequate educational institutions, and poor policy implementation. The consequences are severe, leading to social evils, unemployment, and weak democratic processes. Solutions involve launching extensive campaigns, adhering to Article 37-B of the Constitution for free secondary education, framing effective policies, increasing the education budget, and involving all societal segments in eradicating illiteracy. Addressing illiteracy in Pakistan is crucial for the nation’s socio-economic development.

Illiteracy in Pakistan

Illiteracy is the condition in which a person does not know the basics of the 3Rs i.e. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. According to the UN, a literate is a person who can follow written directions. In Pakistan illiteracy is recorded at 62.3 % by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. This is very stagnant since very less changes are observed in the last decades; in 2006 literacy rate was recorded at 54.15 % by Statista. The slow growth of literacy is because of poverty, unemployment, lack of resources, poor implementation of policies, lack of educational institutions, and low allocation of budget. In FY 2019 2.3 % of the GDP was spent on education which decreased to 1.3 % in FY 2020.

Causes of Illiteracy in Pakistan

In Pakistan, it is estimated that there are 200000 primary, middle and secondary schools which is significantly less as compared to the needs of the country. Private institutions are readily available but most parents cannot send their children to these institutions because of high expenses.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics as per the 2017 census, Pakistan’s population is recorded at 207.68 million. This is very high as compared to available resources. The country’s population is increasing at a very high pace and resources are depleting with time. The available resources fall short to meet the current educational needs.

Poverty in the country is recorded at 39.3% which shows that a good deal of people has no access to proper food, shelter and clothes. In these circumstances when the family is living from hand to mouth, it is impossible to give their children a good education.

Governments try and make promises to provide basic educational facilities. In past, many policies were framed like Pakistan New Educational Policy, Prime Minister Literary Program, Pilot for Young Women, Quran Learning Centre and National Literacy Movement but none of them end up giving good results as expected because of weak policies, weak implementation, lack of spirit and political commitment.
The allocation of a low budget halts the way of development in the education sector. In FY 2019 government allocated a 2.3% budget which decreased to 1.5 in FY 2020. The decrease in budget exacerbated the already sick education system.

Uneducated parents are also the cause of growing illiteracy. Most of them are not aware of the importance of education. So they involve their children in unhealthy activities like child labour.
Illiteracy has very grave impacts on society.

Consequences of Illiteracy in Pakistan

Growing illiteracy creates a vicious cycle and works as a root cause of all social evils. An illiterate person can’t find a good job/employment in society which affects their psychological and physical growth. They also adversely affect democracy; they do not know how to use the power of the vote. Mostly sell their votes; as a result, incompetents assume power and government. which destroys the country’s internal system and global image. The above causes will lead the nation to pay the huge cost of being illiterate. Illiteracy taped the country in the vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, extremism, gender discrimination, corruption, etc. illiterates are not equipped to compete in the job market, and their less awareness and reasoning skills translate into the nation’s inability to advance.

Solutions to Illiteracy in Pakistan

In order to resolve the serious issue of illiteracy huge campaign needs to be launched committed to Article 37-B of the Constitution of Pakistan which guarantees the removal of illiteracy and the provision of free secondary education. Proper policies should be framed with political commitment and spirit. A good amount of budget needs to be allocated for the better future of the country. People from all walks of life i.e. youth, clerics, and civil society should work to eradicate illiteracy from the country.


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