The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared September 8th as International Literacy Day (ILD). This year marks the 50thanniversary of International Literacy Day, which is being celebrating under the theme, “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. To commemorate this day, an international conference is being organised by UNESCO on the 8th and 9th of September at its headquarters in Paris, France. Literary prizes will be distributed at the event and the Global Alliance for Literacy will be launched.
Here in Pakistan, the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) held a literacy walk on Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad to raise awareness and in an effort to promote literacy. At this platform, the NCHD Chair, Senator Razina Alam, spoke of the NCHD’s aim of educating nearly 57 million people in Pakistan who are currently considered ‘illiterate’.
The NCHD also held a seminar to commemorate ILD where they spoke of plans regarding the launch of a pilot programme called ‘Each One, Teach One’ which will fall under the 100% Literate Islamabad project.
Currently, the education statistics in Pakistan show bleak numbers, with only 60% of people aged 10 and above considered as literate. Under the Millennial Development Goals (MDGs), Pakistan had set a target of reaching 88% literacy rate for people aged 15 and above. However figures from 2014-2015 show only a 57% literacy rate for 15+; this means the target was missed by nearly 30 points.
Below we take a look at trends in literacy rates (ages 10 years and above) in Pakistan.
Source: Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement survey (2004/5-2014/15)
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics launches the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement survey (PSLM) report every year in which it also looks into literacy rates – often divided by gender and urban/rural area settings.As can be seen from the graph above the literacy rate for people aged 10 years and above has shown little improvement in the 10 years from 2004/5 to 2014/15 – only a 7 point increase from 2005.
*It should be noted here that the PSLMS for the years 2011-12 and 2013-14 did not include data for the 15+ age category.
The MDG target for literacy under Goal 2 was related to literacy of peoples aged 15 and above, for which Pakistan had set the target of reaching 88% literacy by the end of 2015. The table above shows that the overall 15+ literacy rate has increased from 50% to 57% between 2004/5 and 2014/15 – a mere 7 point increase. Male literacy rate has grown from 63% in 2005 to 68% in 2015. Female literacy rate have seen a greater growth rate but still remain below that of male literacy rate – an increase of 9 points from 36% in 2005 to 45% in 2015.
For more information and statistics, visit the UNESCO Institute for Statistics site or the Pakistan Data Portal PSLMs dataset. You can follow along and contribute to this global conversation with #LiteracyDay and #50ILD