'70pc Pakistanis to be literate by 2015'

Lahore, March 28, 2008: Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), says Pakistan will surpass its target of achieving 70 per cent literacy by the year 2015.

The NCHD chairman said this while speaking at a gathering of civil servants and educationalists at a seminar entitled 'Effective practices in literacy approaches' here on Thursday.

Mr Ashraf said: "We are now at the stage where we can open 100,000 literacy centres every year. Having this trend continued for the next five years will ensure we meet and surpass our goals," before explaining that, according to calculations done by the NCHD, over 86 per cent of the country will be literate by the year 2015.

He said another crucial factor in meeting this goal was the target enrollment of 93 per cent of all five-seven year olds in primary schools, as part of the Universal Primary Education Programme.

"If we keep them in schools till at least age 10, then each year we will have 5 million more individuals who will be counted in the "literate" pool as opposed to the "illiterate" pool", he said.

Talking later to reporters, Mr Ashraf admitted that current spending on education as a percentage of GDP, currently 2.6 per cent, was too low and that major improvements could only take place when this was increased to four per cent in line with Unesco regulations.

In what he termed "a challenge I would like to give to educationalists," Mr Ashraf said that the main purpose of the NCHD's adult literacy programmes were not to convert people who had been illiterate all their lives into proficient writers or PhD candidates.

"For me it doesn't matter if they can write seven sentences in their mother tongue or not," he said. Rather, parents of children should be proficient in reading a local newspaper in their own language.

The main objective, he said, was to change mindsets so that parents would instill the desire for learning in their own children who could then go on to complete their high school and even college education.

He said although NCHD had been designated the lead agency in delivering literacy, all agencies should work together for the best results. Earlier, Ichiro Miyzwa of Unesco Pakistan, had announced a new pilot scheme in which illiterate adults would be given new cell phones to supplement their learning. He said: "Eighty million Pakistanis have cell phones. They are becoming cheaper and illiterate people have exposure to more and more information. If we can utilise it correctly, it's possible to reduce illiteracy dramatically." Dawn

Education through mobile phones
Lahore: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is contemplating a proposal to launch an innovative mobile literacy programme to ensure continuity and sustainability of learning process, the programme specialist (education) of the UNESCO, Islamabad, has said.

Ichiro Miyazawa said the proposed "Post Literacy Programme through Mobile Phone" was aimed at focusing on individuals who attended literacy classes but could not continue their education.

He said that such individuals could be kept engaged in the learning process under the new proposed initiative. "SMS featuring news, updates, jokes and other reading material would be sent to these individuals to keep them busy in learning process," he said. "In this way they would continue to read and learn," he added.

He said if a final decision was taken about the programme it would be launched in two selected districts of Punjab on a pilot basis. Cellular companies would also be involved in the "mobile literacy" programme, he added.

Miyazawa maintained that sustainability and continuity were major hurdles in promotion of literacy in Pakistan. He said the proposed initiative was aimed at addressing these issues. "Teacher education, coordination and advocacy were also main issues which needed to be addressed on a priority basis," he added. He said adult literacy and primary education was the focus of UNESCO as better work was being done in Pakistan as far as higher education was concerned.

"You have good people and lot of resources therefore good work is being done on the higher education side," he observed.

Talking about UNESCO, Miyazawa said education, culture and community were three main pillars of the organisation. In collaboration with different agencies and the Federal Ministry of Education, the UNESCO was playing its role for promotion of literacy in the country, he added. He said progress made in the last five years in education in Pakistan showed that there was still a possibility to achieve Education for All (EFA) goals by 2015.

The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008 has placed Pakistan in the group of countries which are far from achieving EFA goals by 2015.

According to the report, EFA Development Index (EDI), calculated for 129 countries, shows that 25 countries were far from achieving EFA.

About two-thirds of these are in sub-Saharan Africa, while Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritania and Morocco and are also included. Pakistan had already missed a goal to eliminate gender disparities in primary education by 2005. Miyazawa said that Pakistan had great potential adding that though achieving EFA goals was not easy but it was not impossible. "Rigorous efforts are being made in connection with achievement of EFA goals as we still have a chance," he said.

Diploma results
Peshawar: NWFP Medical Faculty Peshawar has declared results of diploma course session December 2007 with 14 percent as the pass percentage, says a notification on Thursday. The results can be seen at the Website: www.nwfpmf.edu.pk, while hard copies of the gazette will be sent to the concerned institutes after three days, it added. The News

Your Comments
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Name: said zamin khan
Email: saidzamin@yahoo.com
City, Country: distt:Dir Pakistan



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