It is widely acknowledged that education is amongst the single most important factor contributing to poverty alleviation. Education plays an overarching role and has a cross cutting impact on all aspects of human life. It is a vital investment for human and economic development. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s standing on this front has historically been poor, as can be seen in Table 10.1.
Table 10.1: Comparison of Public Sector Spending on Education Public Sector Spending Literacy rate Country (As % GDP) in (%) Bangladesh 2.6 55.0 China ‐ 93.7 India 3.3 ‐ Indonesia 3.5 ‐ Iran 5.2 ‐ Malaysia 4.7 92.1 Nepal 3.2 57.9 Pakistan 2.1 57.0 Sri Lanka … 90.6 Thailand 4.5 ‐ Vietnam 5.3 92.5 ‐ : not available Source: World Bank, UNDP, UNESCO, FBS, Ministry of Education Figures for latest available year
With public spending on education as a percentage of GDP amongst the lowest in the chosen sample, the outcome with regard to literacy levels is not surprising. While the literacy rate has improved gradually over a period, Pakistan’s indicators on this front continue to rank at the bottom end of global rankings. Within the region, only Bangladesh has a worse outcome on both indicators, spending by the public sector as well as literacy rate. Nepal spends a substantial fraction more than Pakistan on education, while its literacy rate is marginally higher. Given this dismal state of affairs, Human Capital Development has been accorded amongst the highest priorities in the government’s Nine Point Plan of 2008. 10.1 Literacy According to the latest Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2008‐09, the overall literacy rate (age 10 years and above) is 57% (69% for male and 45% for female) compared to 56% (69% for male and 44% for female) for 2007‐08. The data shows that literacy remains higher in ... [continues]
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