“Are those equal, those who know and those who don’t know.” 1. INTRODUCTION:
It is now a universally recognized fact that mass education is a pre-requisite for the development and prosperity of a country. The main priority of the developing countries, in recent years has been to foster the development and renewal of primary education and to eliminate illiteracy. Pakistan, unfortunately, like the other under developed countries, has made little progress in this aspect. Since independence, she continues to remain in the group of countries with the lowest literacy rate. Half of the world’s illiterate and 22 percent of the world’s population live in South Asia. Pakistan does not fare well on account of literacy within the region. Sri Lanka and Maldives have almost attained full literacy. The adult literacy rate for India is 61 as compared to 53 percent in Pakistan. India, according to a recent study done by the World Bank, has attained 100 percent Gross Enrollment ratio (GER) and 90 percent Net Enrollment Ratio (NER) at the primary level. 2. MEANING OF ILLITERACY:
For an Adult, illiteracy means primitive manual labour in agriculture and industry, uncertain employment opportunities and low wages, life-long miserable living conditions, and humiliating dependence on the literates of the community for the day-to-day civic and business interactions and deprivation in all walks of life. For adults illiteracy also means exclusion from most of economic, social and cultural activities. For the Out-of-school Children, illiteracy means forced labour, vagrancy, sickness and slavery. For Women, literacy is a survival kit and symbol of status. It means emancipation, participation in the decision making of the family and equality. 3. IMPORTANCE OF LITERACY:
Illiteracy is a small pane in a large window, opening into the world of knowledge based on reading and writing as one of the earliest cultural activities of mankind. Mankind’s civilization, and its accumulation, sharing and transmission of knowledge over the centuries has been made possible by written and readable words. Every Muslim knows that the first command revealed by Allah to the Holy Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) was ‘READ’. Literacy, over the centuries, has become the lever of human progress and the leveler of social and economic conditions. It is a basic human need, and human right to knowledge. Illiteracy is brake on human development, and maps of illiteracy – poverty, underdevelopment, social discrimination and disease are always co-incident. It is a challenge to human dignity and imposes a second-class status on a person in all societies. Life without literacy is life without hope, security and freedom. 4. CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING THE LITERACY STATUS:
The literacy status of a country is determined by the following parameters: I. The existing level of literacy.
II. The rate on increment of new literates.
III. The volume of the education system’s output.
IV. The demographic factors engage structure, mortality and birth rate. V. The last but not the least is the percentage of budget engaged for the education. 5. RAISING THE LITERACY RATE:
Countries have succeeded in raising their literacy rates by taking the following steps: I. Universalization of primary education.
II. Providing non-formal primary education facilities for out of school youth and dropouts. III. Launching countrywide programmes for adults backed by political leadership. IV. Broad involvement of various social groups, institutions, public and voluntary organizations etc. 6. ILLITERACY SCENARIO IN PAKISTAN:
The picture of illiteracy in Pakistan is grim. Although successive governments have announced various programmes to promote literacy, especially among women, but they have been unable to translate their words into actions because of various political, social and cultural obstacles. Access to basic education is the right of every individual. Education is the most...