Pakistan is faced with a dismal reality on International Literacy Day. The country suffers from a literacy percentage that is below average globally despite the world’s celebration of literacy.
Pakistan’s true literacy rate is 59.3 percent, as opposed to the 62.8 percent figure stated in the Economic Survey 2022–23, according to Education Secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry.
Mr. Chaudhry explained that because the Economic Survey lacked the most recent census data, the rate was only an estimate. The real literacy rate was found to be 59.3 percent following the national census, indicating that it did not fall but rather showed significant gains.
Further noting the rise in literacy rates across the board, Mr. Chaudhry pointed out that Punjab saw a percentage gain from 66.1 to 66.3, Sindh from 61.1 to 61.8, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) from 52.4 to 55.1, and Balochistan from 53.9 to 54.5. The nation’s actual literacy rate is now estimated to be 59.13 percent because of this cumulative improvement.
Nevertheless, Pakistan’s education system continues to receive insufficient finance, which is a major factor in the country’s stagnant literacy rates. A teacher employed by the federal government bemoaned the unsatisfactory literacy rate of 60%, which leaves 40% of the population uneducated.
Less than 2% of Pakistan’s GDP is devoted to education. According to the Economic Survey for 2022–2023, the combined education spending by the federal and provincial governments in fiscal year 2022 was only 1.7% of the GDP. The survey also noted that 32% of students were not attending school, with more females than boys being denied an education. With 47 percent of its youngsters not attending school, Balochistan had the highest rate, followed by Sindh (44 percent), KP (32 percent), and Punjab (24 percent).
With almost 23 million kids who are not in school, Pakistan now has the largest number of school-age children who are not receiving an education.
Furthermore, surveys reveal that a sizable portion of fifth graders have difficulty reading sentences in both English and Urdu, raising worries about the quality of education.
The standard of higher education has likewise fallen short of expectations. In recent years, numerous Ph.D. holders have protested in Islamabad, calling for job opportunities in public universities.
To safeguard the country’s future prosperity via education, voices within the education system in Pakistan are calling for a reevaluation of priorities as the nation honors International Literacy Day. They emphasize the critical need for additional funding and support.