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Illiteracy in Pakistan

By: Pawan Kumar



Literacy is very effective and important parameter of measuring social development of a society.Illiteracy is also the ground reason for many other social problems such as crime rate, political unawareness and terrorism which off course has turned into a cancer. The literacy rate in Pakistan is divided into three regions that is in cities, villages and tribal areas. The literacy rate in Pakistan has been increasing every year. Below are some points regarding literacy rate in Pakistan.

The illiteracy rate of 59.9% in Pakistan. In the period 2000-2004, the Pakistanis in the age group 55-64 was the literacy rate of almost 30% of persons aged 45-54 were the literacy rate of about 40% of those between 25-34 were literate 50% while those aged 15-24 were literate in more than 60%. These data show that with each generation, literacy rate in Pakistan has increased by about 10%. The literacy rate in different regions, in particular by gender. In the tribal areas of literacy among women is 7.5%. In addition, English is rapidly spreading in Pakistan, with 18 million Pakistanis (11% of the population), which has authority over the English language that makes it 9-ranked English speaking nation in the world and third largest in Asia. In addition, Pakistan produces about 445,000 graduates and 10.000 informatics graduates a year.

So the conditions of literacy rate are not adequate enough for a proper political and social development of the country. This is clearly evident from the literacy ratio, that the ground is not good for political and social awareness. Our topic is well placed for today’s scenario since illiteracy itself is the direct and indirect cause of many other problems.

Education is a basic right for every human and has now become a standard to measure the social progress of nations. It is surely a key to the political, social and economic development. In the recent history, it has become a prominent phenomenon. The education policy is always on the top of national priorities today. The recent flared situation of global intolerance is also believed to be linked with literacy. Literacy rates have been proved with research to be linked with the economic development of the country. The literate societies are more earning today. They have greater social and political stability. So literacy is an important aspect internationally. Pakistan faces a challenge of the low literacy as compared to the developing countries.

The country has one of the lowest literacy rates of the region, in OIC Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates and when dealing with the causes of this we believe that following are the major

1• Economic causes

2• Gender Inequality

3• Population growth

4• Lack of quality and awareness


Economic causes are greatly affecting the literacy rate of Pakistan. Pakistan is a developing country where 38% people are living beneath the poverty line. They don’t have enough resources to fill their appetite. The household income is very meager and often not enough to support all the children for primary education. It is a matter of concern that even if the family household income is greater than the expenses the number of children is greater than savings to afford. Parents prefer their children to work so that income pressure could be met easily. The economic cause is a major cause and no research has denied this.


The second major cause pointed out in various pieces of literature we studied was the gender inequality. Pakistan has a large proportion of female population which remains uneducated and thus has a serious impact on overall view of country’s literacy profile. This reason is also linked with financial constraints. The social norms give a definite preference to the male child. Thus whenever there is an option of picking the one child female child is always given the least priority.

We also view sex-segregation as a reason for our low literacy rate. In the developing countries like Pakistan where finance is a major problem, where we are not strong enough monetarily, we are stressing sex segregated schools. We believe in that the cultural norms here demand such measures however they should not be considered to an extent where they become a hurdle. Although the government is doing effort to provide the segregated schools and colleges for boys and girls but still it’s a problem. If we’ll wait for the separated schools for the girls we will deprive our generations from the basic right of education.


Population growth is also posing a problem since the rapid population growth restricts the literacy planning. There is a sure chance that after five years or so the population figures become obsolete and planning needs to be revised. Plus the impact of an already done work is limited as a massive challenge grows within that period. The population should be controlled if the effects of the efforts are to be observed clearly.

Why the ratio of the students who are just saying goodbye to school is increasing because we are not providing the education which can attract the child towards itself. The supply of female teachers is important to encourage the female education considering the cultural norms.


Quality of education at primary level is not standardized. This results in high dropout rate. There is a very little convincing factor and attraction in obsolete methods of teaching.

Therefore those who are already economically stressed are highly vulnerable to drop from primary level.

Teachers often are well equipped and sometimes it is seen that teachers are not properly qualified even. Cases have been reported with schools having teachers who are not qualified up to primary levels. So the political involvement is also resulting in under qualified people coming to this sector. Besides, the facilities like furniture and other basic needs are not provided.

The schools in rural areas are not well placed to cater majority of the population. So students from far flung areas prefer to remain in their locality because they are very poor and have no transportation means.

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