Pakistan’s literacy rate stand at 58%; UN target of 88% by 2015 missed

Karachi, June 5, 2015 (MAMOSA Report) — Pakistan’s literacy rate remains at 58% and the country looks set to miss the millennium development goal (MDG) for education — which in terms of education models is 133 in the world.

The Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15 unveiled on Thursday stated that under the United Nation’s MDGs, Pakistan was required to increase its literacy rate to 88% by 2015. The net primary enrolment ratio, which should have been 100% by the end of this year, has remained constant at 57% since 2011-12.

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Despite spending slightly over 2% of its budget on education, the government could not improve the education sector with the poor performance of Sindh and Balochistan governments standing out.

While the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments managed to improve their literacy ratios, Sindh and Balochistan could not even maintain their previous rates.

Punjab improved its literacy rate by one percent from 60% of the previous years to 61%. In KP, increase in female literacy rate gave the overall rate a boost of 1%, taking it to 53%. Sindh witnessed the worst scenario as the literacy rate dropped by 4% in the province, from 60% to 56%. In Balochistan, the rate fell by 1% to 43% from 44% last fiscal.

The country’s overall female literacy rate also came down to 47% in 2013-14. The figures suggest there is still a long way to end gender disparity in education, as the male literacy percentage stood at 70%.

The survey used data from Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM).

According to one report, age-wise literacy rate in Pakistan stands at: Over 55 years 30% ; 45-55 years 40% ; 35-45 years 50% ; 25-35 years 60% ; 15-25 years 70%. Pakistan Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate is 79.1% for males and 61.5% for females, but the country still lags behind its neighbor Iran, which had lower literacy rate than Pakistan in 1950s, now has well over 90% of its adult population literate.

Although literacy in Pakistan grew by about 13% during Musharraf’s rule to about 56%, it still remains woefully low when compared to both its neighbors. However, Pakistanis now spend more time in schools and colleges and graduate at a higher rate than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee.

(The original article was published in the Express Tribune)

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