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Call for collective efforts to increase literacy rate

All stakeholders should strive to enforce the people’s right to education in line with Article 25-A of the Constitution for the country’s socioeconomic development.

This was stated by National Commission for Human Development chairperson Razina Alam Khan during a meeting with Pakistan Human Development Fund Chief Executive Officer Zulfiqar Ahmad here on Thursday. The NCHD chairperson said unfortunately, literacy programmes didn’t produce the desired results by and large.

“From the very beginning, adult literacy and non-formal education remained almost a political slogan and failed at the implementation level. Every government’s mandate, each development plan and all education policies were decorated with rhetoric on literacy and consistent efforts were not made to develop non-formal education sector along professional lines and to institutionalise adult literacy programmes,” she said.

Razina Alam Khan said the current government had begun initiatives for building concrete educational foundation of the country. She said it was encouraging to note the decrease in out of school children from 24 million to 22.6 million and increase in enrolment rate from 72 per cent to 77 per cent during the last three years along with increase in the number of students in the public sector schools.

The NCHD chairperson said the total gross enrolment of all sectors and levels of education increased from 44.4 million to 47.5 million, and in the current year the results of government schools in exams were better than the private sector schools’.

In the meeting, the PHDF CEO pledged to work in collaboration with the NCHD and provide funds for eradication of illiteracy from the country under Vision 2025. Razina Alam Khan said the biggest problem being faced by literacy programmes was the lack of capacity of mid level managers and teachers and facilitators delivering literacy skills at the grassroots level.

She also complained the required materials for the capacity building of mid level managers and teachers were not available that included manuals, handouts, charts, posters and learning aids. The NCHD chairperson said teachers were provided with only one-time training which used to be limited to the classrooms.

She said there was no concept of on-job training, and due to inadequate training packages, teachers were reluctant to attend such sessions, while another factor was unavailability of skilled resource persons for training, ultimately leading to the need of quality master trainers in non-formal education.

Razina Alam Khan said the newly established NTI would cater for all such needs. The PHDF CEO under the new project, 2,000 adult literacy centres would be established by the NCHD in which 50,000 people would be made literate, while learners of these centres would attain basic literacy and functional literacy skills along with early childhood development, which would make them useful and responsible citizens of the country.

“These literacy teachers and 200 supervisors will be trained in the newly established National Training Institute Islamabad for successfully running the centres,” he said. The NCHD chairperson thanked the PHDF for their contribution and commitment to the national cause of illiteracy eradication from the country.

“We can achieve the targets of Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals 4 but there is a need of collective will of local and international community and all stakeholders to ensure necessary support,” she said.

The PHDF CEO appreciated the efforts of the NCHD in the field of literacy and non-formal education and extended his organisation’s full support to the NCHD for literacy, skill development and capacity building of the non-formal education teachers.

Reporter. Call for collective efforts to increase literacy rate. The News, April 21, 2017.

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