Message by Prime Minister of Pakistan on International Literacy Day

Islamabad: International Literacy Day being observed today around the world draws our attention to the challenge of illiteracy through concerted efforts and affirmative policy action. Despite dedicated efforts made by UNESCO to keep literacy issue high on national, regional and global agendas, illiteracy remains a major hurdle in realizing the potential of human resources.

According to the UNESCO, one in five adults is not literate today. This phenomenon is rampant among women, whereas 67.4 million children have not been able to attend school. A staggering number of 793 million adults lack basic literacy skills.

These startling figures of illiteracy show that global response to address this issue needs to be tackled with strong political commitment at the state level. Literacy is a fundamental right of every individual. It is a tool to empower people.

A literate society is a society, which is aware of its rights and duties and has the will to realize its potential to the fullest. The dream of social and economic development of any society will remain a pipedream in the absence of educated people. The states and societies can claim development and enjoy respectable place in the comity of nations who have higher literacy rate and whose citizens have access to quality education.

Literacy is also a key to promotion of positive attitudes such as tolerance, moderation and harmony in society. It also strengthens democracy and empowers people as agent of constructive change. The goal of curbing violence in society, achieving sustainable growth and gender equality, reducing child mortality and decreasing population escalation cannot be achieved without improving literacy levels in a country.

The durable solution to the problem of terrorism and extremism lies in the provision of quality educational and literacy opportunities to the youths. Equipped with education and access to job opportunities, they are unlikely to fall in the hands of extremists.

Under the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the subject of education has been devolved to provinces and Article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan enforces the right to free and compulsory education as constitutional right in Pakistan.

With the devolution of education to the federating units, more resources have been made available to the provinces. It is now up to the provincial governments to play their due role in enhancing the literacy in the country.

The federal government, on its part, would continue to extend its support, guidance and patronage to all such pro-literacy initiatives.

Addressing illiteracy is a national challenge and the government is committed to do everything possible to meeting the Millennium Development Goals for a better Pakistan. Media and private sector have a critical role to play in this regard. The formation of ‘partnership and approach’ is a sina qua non to achieve the shared goal of improving literacy rates.

The government also looks forward to strengthening its collaboration with its global partners such as UNESCO and other donor countries to work together for raising literacy rates in the country. On the occasion of International Literacy Day, let us pledge to double our efforts and firm up our resolve to defeat illiteracy, poverty, disease and ignorance.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com