LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, the International Literacy Day will be observed in the country today. 

With 35 million out-of-school children, Pakistan has international commitments of 100 per cent enrolment till 2015. However, the UNDP Millennium Development Goals report states that Pakistan will not be able to achieve its education goals until 2015.

According to data collected in 2009, the literacy rate was 57 per cent (Male 69 per cent and female 45 per cent). Status of Education Report (ASER) of 2012 says that 23 per cent of rural and seven per cent of urban children, aged 6-16 are not in schools, with girls lagging behind boys in rural areas. The Global Monitoring Report 2012 has placed Pakistan on the second highest spot amongst the countries with the most out-of-school children. This year, the theme of International Literacy Day is ‘Literacies for the 21st Century.’

Government and nongovernmental organisations will hold various functions to mark the day highlighting the importance of literacy.

The government would hold a special three-day nationwide enrolment campaign from September 9-11 with a target to enroll over half a million children in schools.

OUR STAFF REPORTER FROM PESHAWAR: The Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department is all set to mark the International Literacy Day. Executive District Officers (EDOs) and Assistant District Officers (ADOs) will hold functions to sensitise masses on the importance of literacy and the way it can change the lives of the nations.

Apart from functions at district and tehsil level, the main programme of the day will be held in Peshawar at Government Primary School for boys Chughalpura. E&SE Additional Secreatary Qaisar Alam will be the chief guest on the occasion. Besides, an effective advertisement, a campaign would also be launched, by installing banners and posters at the main points of the provincial metropolis and in all the districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, highlighting the importance of literacy.  The messages vis-à-vis the importance of education would also be disseminated through billboards at entry points to the city. Advertisement campaign would entirely be confined to sensitising masses about the importance of literacy rather than making it a publicity show of ministers, as they would not contain any picture of the minister concerned.

This activity would be followed by E&SE's Enrollment Drive on September 10. The main function of the drive would be held at the Government Higher Secondary School Cantt No 1 where Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan would be the chief guest. Teachers, students, parents and representatives of the civil society organisations would also attend the function.

BARI BALOCH ADDS: A function was held on the eve of the International Literacy Day in Quetta.

Speaking on the occasion, MPA Nasrullah Zeray said the government has been striving hard to ensure basic facilities to impart modern education to the children.

Nasrullah Zehray, who is also leader of Pashtoon Khowa Milli Awami Party, said that provision of education to the children is the first priority of government. “In order to eradicate educational backwardness from the province the provincial government has allocated 24 per cent of budget for education,” Zeray said.

MPAs Kiran Haider, William Barkat, DIG Prisons Abdul Ghafoor Kasi and Farzana Principal of New Grand Focus School also addressed on the occasion.