LAHORE - The goal 'Education for All by Year 2015 as an international commitment at Dakar World Education Forum can never be achieved with the present state of literacy in Pakistan, which is dismally low. The successive governments did nothing to improve literacy nor paid heed to achieve the goal while it is also mandatory under Article 37 (b) of the Constitution, and UN General Assembly Resolution. This was stated by former Chairman National Commission for Literacy and Mass Education Inayatullah while talking to daily The Nation here on Sunday. The current fiscal year allocation has been further reduced from 1.25 per cent to 1.4 per cent while the allocation in the previous years were never beyond 2 or 2.5 per cent of the GNP when abundant funds were flowing to Pakistan for education purposes. Likewise, Punjab has also reduced its allocation for education in the financial year 2009-10 to the extent of 30 per cent. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has asked at least four per cent of GNP for education, of which 10 per cent to be spent on primary education and literacy (simple reading and writing), but this was never done in Pakistan. Inayatullah who currently runs an NGO, PACADE for literacy and continuing education said that of the 31 billion allocated for education in the Federal budget 2009-10, Rs 22 billion was for higher education and the remaining six billion for other purposes of which only one billion was for literacy. He, however, said illiteracy was a prelude for higher education. It is vital for the progress and development but its rate is dismally low. The state of illiteracy among girls is more alarming. The dropout rates of children from schools can best be checked by literate mothers. Under the Education Sector Reform, (ESR) programme, the Federal Ministry of Education got Rs 50 million last year which they passed on to four provinces but this year the amount had been reduced to only one million in the budget 09-10, which is shockingly low. The Federal government has though allocated some amount to National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) under Cabinet division (doing, health, primary education and literacy) as well as to National Education Foundation running eight/ten thousands centres for out-of-school children but still it is low. Such centres should have been 0.25 million by now, at least 0.1 million in Punjab alone but these are not beyond 10,000 in the whole country. At least 60 million children in Pakistan of age 10 and above are out of school whose number is rising every year, he added. It is a considered opinion that no country can progress in the present age if its population cannot read or write. Literacy is a basic human right and has been duly acknowledged as such in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the foundation of education and is a public good. It helps reduce intolerance and connects individuals to global thinking and trends. He said the literacy rate of Pakistan and China was almost equal in 1947 while it stands at 99 per cent today in China and a questionable 53 per cent in Pakistan. India has 70 per cent and Sri Lanka 100 per cent. He urged the media to do more for the promotion of literacy. Citing example of an Indian State, Kerala having 100 per cent literacy, Inayatullah said, a newspaper published in Kerala had a circulation of 4 million while all the newspapers in Pakistan did not have circulation beyond 2.5 million due to illiteracy. Thus it is in interest of media to work for promotion of literacy and exert pressure on the governments to allocate more funds for literacy, he added. He said nor media nor civil society spoke for literacy while the illiterate. The parliamentarians too are apathetic to the need of literacy - rather some of them do not want it at all, as the illiterate can best be exploited. Punjab has good infrastructure of education and literacy but its implementation is slow and unsatisfactory. The last years allocation in the education budget lapsed and remained mainly unspent. He said that non-formal basic education centres were the hallmark of primary education, where education of five years is imparted in three years but these centres could not be expanded as required. The adult literacy centres where population between the age 15 and 35 can be enrolled are also not sufficient. He appealed the Prime Minister to intervene and order the increase of allocation for literacy in order to at least Rs one billion instead of Rs one million by cutting down administrative expenditures. Answering a question on the Punjab Government intention towards uniform system of education, he said it should not be mere statements but a Commission should be formed to evolve the uniform curriculum and enforce it without any delay.