Illiteracy, a social Issue

Madiha Waseem

According to United Nation’s MDGs Pakistan was required to increase its literacy rate to 88% by 2015. The statistics provided by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics the literacy rate of Pakistan is said to be 55%, recorded in April 2014. The adult literacy rate in Pakistan has risen to 57 percent in 2012-2013 but now it has declined instead of improving.

There are several reasons associated with low literacy rate in Pakistan. Pakistan is considered to be a male dominated society. Therefore, despite of there being more female population than male, the male literacy rate is higher. Female literacy rate for primary education is 34% and male the percentage is 48%.

In addition to this, not much importance is being given to education in Pakistan and there is a trend of early marriages. Therefore at the time when children should go to school and get education they get married and have children. This is the reason why with the increase in enrollment rates, the drop-out rate is also increasing. Besides this, in an economic survey narrated by Ishaq Dar, if the minimum daily wage is considered to be $2, i.e. Rs. 200, then more than half of the country lives below poverty line. This poverty ratio also makes it difficult for parents to educate their children.

Islam gives us the lesson of parity. It is important for both male and female to receive education, but in Pakistan the situation is different. Therefore, the government should take specific measures to foster education. Firstly, government should ban early marriages; the Pakistani law that allows female marriages at the age of 16 and male at the age of 18 should be followed more strictly, and heavy penalty should be enforced on those who don’t abide by the law. In addition as the nearly half a million Pakistani population lives below poverty line, education should be free for all along with other incentives for instance free uniform, books in order to motivate and encourage children.

Pakistan stands at 160th position in terms of literacy rate. The lack of education is affecting Pakistan negatively, pushing more people below the poverty line. This needs to change, if we are to grow as a nation and compete positively with rest of the world.

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