READING AND WRITING DIFFICULTIES: Pakistan needs to prioritize the citizens' lack of reading and writing skills and should launch a nationwide program that takes into account the country's multicultural and foreign language communities.

Email: zarakayani@nytid.no
Published: 2020-03-03

good read- and writing skills are important for a wide range of development goals, from political participation to good health. If the mothers have good skills, the infant mortality rate will decrease significantly.

Children from areas where reading and writing skills are low not only do poorly at school and have poor financial prospects, they also have lower life expectancy than peers from areas where the population has good reading and writing skills.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has never given priority to enhancing people's reading and writing skills. As a result, Pakistani literacy rates have varied between 57 percent and 60 percent over the past decade, well below the 67 percent average in South Asia.

In the region has Pakistan the second lowest literacy rate after Afghanistan, and the country ranks 150th out of 188 countries worldwide.

illiteracy

There are also major gender differences: Among Pakistani men, 68 per cent can read and write, for women the corresponding figure is 45 per cent. There is also a big gap between city and country, which has a literacy rate of 74 and 46 percent respectively.

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In addition, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the region where differences persist in the younger generation, indicating that literacy rates are unlikely to increase in the near future.

It's not that difficult to find the reason: The Pakistani government is not investing in literacy. An estimate shows that the country introduced around 15 comprehensive programs to improve these skills in the years 1947–2005, but most programs were discontinued ahead of time - either due to change of government or funding problems.

Pakistan's adult literacy education expenditure (ALE - Adult Literacy Education) accounted for only 0–0,4 per cent of total educational expenditure in the period 2009–2014.

During this period, when Pakistan should have made an effort to meet UNESCO's 2000 Education for All program, which would halve the number of adult illiterates by 2015, it was used fewer public funds for education.

Success in Bangladesh

Pakistan is not alone; Few countries have succeeded in making significant progress in the fight against illiteracy. But on others…


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