- Jan 9, 2012
Little to celebrate and a lot to worry about. Like every year International Literacy Day, that was held across the globe on Saturday, served as a grim reminder that not much is being done to make education accessible for all and sundry in the country.
To raise awareness about this issue and highlight the importance of sending children to schools, a walk was held at the Pakistan Sports Complex.
The participants walked a few hundred yards in the rain, carrying banners and placards inscribed with the importance of literacy in socio-economic development and promoting peace. The slogans were in consonance with the theme of this year's literacy day, "Literacy and Peace".
Students and teachers from public and private schools, boy scouts, civil society members and officials of the education ministry took part in the walk.
A majority of Pakistan's children remain deprived of education. Based on the data available on the National Commission of Human Development (NCHD) website, only 12 per cent of 19 million primary school age children study beyond fifth grade. In other words, 22 out of every 25 primary school-age children are expected to fail or drop out of school before fifth grade.
Every Pakistani child should attend school as peace and progress in the country cannot be achieved without literacy and education, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shahnaz Wazir Ali, addressing the participants.
"We have gathered here to send out a message to our leaders and our citizens to send all our children to school," Ali said, during a literacy walk that was organised by the NCHD.
Ali added, "Through Article 25(a) of the 18th amendment, elected representatives have endorsed the idea that every child between the ages of 5 and 16 years should be provided quality education by the state."
Sadly, apart from the legislation there is little on-ground work that has been done in this regard, added another participant, on condition of anonymity.
After the walk, Iqbalur Rehman Sharif, director of education at NCHD, said 57 districts across the country had been selected as part of a new project to improve the literacy rate by 10 per cent in the next three years.
NCHD is running its universal primary education programme in 134 districts nationwide, establishing feeder schools in areas with no schools within a two-kilometre of their radius.
International Literacy Day: Little to celebrate, lot to worry about – The Express Tribune