SIALKOT – Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has admitted that in the prevailing circumstances, the enhancement of literacy rate is impossible, stressing the need for collective efforts to promote education across the country.

There was an urgent need for banishing the menace of illiteracy by taking steps at the grassroots level, she said. She was addressing an annual prize distribution ceremony held under the auspices of the Private Schools Association of Sialkot at Anwar Club on Sunday. She said there were many “speed breakers” like security risks, negative attitude of parents and lack of transportation facilities in the way of females’ education in the far-off parts of the country.

Dr Firdous further stated, “As compared to other countries especially the neighbouring countries, literacy rate in Pakistan is at lowest and it is not a healthy sign.”

Undoubtedly, the private sector was rendering highly laudable services in expanding the sphere of education in rural and urban areas of the country, she said. The minister added that it was very unfortunate that the educational institutions functioning in private sector were providing the education facilities only to the privileged class and the poor segment of the society were being deprived of better facilities of education due financial constrains.

Dr Firdous urged the Punjab government to concentrate on improving the condition of government educational institutions and ensure missing facilities in schools for attracting the students.

She also said that it was an encouraging aspect that the students of public sector schools were producing better results as compared to those of private sector ones in the country. The information minister said that Punjab government should focus on resolving the problems and ensuring quality education for better future of the students. She said that there was an urgent need for changing the mindset of parents and weeding out the discrimination for ensuring equal opportunities of education to male and female students. She added that most of the parents prefer to provide maximum facilities to their sons as compared to daughters.

The PPP-led government was making an all-out effort for the promotion of education in accordance with the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and education is top on the PPP manifesto, she said.

The information minister said that the teachers should perform their duties with zeal for the promotion of education and for getting rid of illiteracy. She urged the people to make a pledge to fight against illiteracy because it was generating unemployment, poverty and social evils in the society.  Later, the information minister distributed certificates and scholarships among the position holders of various schools of Sialkot district.