International Literacy is being celebrated today (Tuesday) across the world for generating valuable momentum in support of the literacy endeavors.

The Day provides us opportunities to gauge our performances and learn from the past failures and replicate the best practices.

The literature review of importance of literacy presents that most of the researchers and social scientists are of believe that better-educated individuals earn higher wages, have greater earnings growth over their lifetimes, and experience less unemployment. Better-educated nations have higher, long-run economic growth and higher standards of living.

Enhanced educational attainment is also associated with longer life expectancy, improved health, reduced participation in crime, and greater civic participation. As Dr. Amartya Sen (1999) emphasizes, individual without basic literacy and numeracy skills cannot assume a full and equal role in social and political discourse.

According to Pro-Literacy, basic literacy is necessary for community to raise children properly, to be good citizen, good employees, to keep themselves and their families healthy, to avoid crime, to be active in their community and to advocate for themselves and avoid human rights abuse. Furthermore research undertaken by pro-Literacy assure the above mentioned benefits of literacy and numeracy skills. Here are few of the research findings:

“Parents who are poor readers don’t read as often to their children as do parents who are strong readers. These children [of low-literate parents] enter school less prepared to learn to read than other children.”

“Workers must be able to read safety regulations and warnings so they and their co-workers can stay safe on the job. And working in a team means that employees must be able to communicate clearly with one another”.

“Understanding a doctor’s orders, calculating how much medicine to take, reading disease-prevention pamphlets all are ways adults can keep themselves and their families healthy. But millions of adults lack these essential “health literacy” skills, which adds an estimated $230 billion a year to the cost of health care in the U.S.”

One of the fundamental human rights is the provision of free and compulsory elementary education. According to Article 26 of “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan safeguard basic human rights, promote social justice, equality of citizens, social and economic well being of peoples, full participation of women in national life and preservation of language, script and culture. From education point of view constitution declares it a constitutional obligation to state provide free basic education. Here are some references from the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan showing the legislative responsibility of state and citizens.

Approximately 72 % of the total population of Pakistan is of age group 10 + years. And only 60 % of this population is able to read and write. Conversely it means that 40% of Pakistan’s population of age 10+years is illiterate. In this modern era of innovation economy more than 57 million people of our country are unable to read and write even in our native language. The table presents latest statistics on literacy. Sharp regional and gender disparities can be noticed when we view Provincial rates of literacy.

Pakistan needs a new framework for social change to provide equal opportunities and social justice to everyone, eliminate exploitation of the poor, harness its human resource potential and restore the dignity of the citizen.

NCHD has envisaged various strategies to achieve 890% literacy rate by 2025 as given in the vision 2025. Existing formal system is adding about 1% literacy rate annually and through the existing pace Pakistan can achieve 68% literacy rate by 2025. Through adult literacy there is a need to target 23 million populations in 10 years in all four provinces. NCHD can share the target population depending upon the capacity and resources of the province. The overall target for provinces and NCHD will be as under:

In Urban areas the literacy program will be implemented through a movement approach, which includes EACH ONE TEACH ONE, Voluntary Literacy Campaigns and participation of Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations. It is suggested that 40% Literacy program should consist of Literacy Movement and 60% through establishment of face to face Adult Literacy Centers.

In the given scenario there is a need to establish 70,000 Adult Literacy centers per annum. As stated in Vision 2025 Education Development will be lead by the provinces, the proposed Literacy Centers will be established in partnership with the provinces.