Islamabad-“Education plays an important role in society and we cannot even imagine modern and developed life without it. All great civilisations of human society thrived because of knowledge, learning and excellence. A literate environment not only improves socioeconomic indicators in a society but it also positively influences system of governance.”

Chairperson National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), former Senator Razina Alam Khan said this while addressing to the members of 43rd Commission meeting here yesterday. The meeting was attended by Roshan K Bharocha, Saba Gul Khattak, Sono Khangrani, Dr Mubashar Bhatti and Joint Secretary for Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training Taimoor Khan.

“As a matter of fact, everything we create today is based on the knowledge that we obtain throughout our life by innovative education, technology and technology based products,” she added.

“When the people of a nation are educated, they’d definitely carve ways to be self-sufficient; an economically independent society is the stepping stone to combined productivity that leads to the economic growth of the nation on the whole”, she said. The most important national resource for development is the human labour force. “We the country of almost 200 million people where half of the population is women and 50% of them are illiterates, could not progress due to illiteracy,” she viewed.

The chairperson expressed her concern over the fact that among 57 million illiterate people in the country and 24 million children who never go to school, 70% of them are females. Keeping in mind the low literacy rate of women in Pakistan, NCHD devised Adult Literacy Programme that focuses on women, especially the mothers, she said.  She further deplored that the situation becomes even worse with the staggering figure that out of 26 million children who are enrolled, only 33% reach the matriculation level. The NCHD has launched a countrywide enrolment campaign and 82,166 children have been enrolled by now in our feeder schools since April 2016, she informed.

While discussing the grim educational statistics in Pakistan, the chairperson NCHD said the primary net enrolment is 72%, out of which 33% are dropouts. Accessibility is one of the main reasons of low enrolment and in order to address this issue the NCHD had established 5,949 community feeder schools in underprivileged and remote areas all over Pakistan, 6,581 feeder teachers are working in these schools with 310,146 learners acquiring primary education.

The NCHD has adopted Sustainable Development Goals targets and indicators in the realm of literacy, non formal education, skill development and empowerment of women, she observed. While discussing about NCHD education programs and initiatives she informed that NCHD had launched ‘Madrassa School Project’ to bring seminaries in mainstream and to provide formal education to the madrassa students in ICT, FATA, GB and AJ&K. Strategy for establishment of 2000 adult literacy centres and recommendation of the advisory council on framing National Policy on Non-Formal Education & Adult Literacy and National Plan of Action for achieving 90% literacy rate were discussed in detail with the members.

She further said the launch of “Each One Teach One” campaign in Islamabad is also a very significant step by NCHD. If the educated youth voluntarily come forward to contribute to this noble cause, an enormous social change could be brought in the situation of literacy and education of the country, she added. The university students can play vital role in this project, she added.

Briefly highlighting about NCHD projects she said, “We had launched ‘Literacy for Jail project’ to educate prisoners in the jails under a massive programme along with the skill development to make the prisoners useful citizens after their release from jails by completing their term.” Currently 8 adult literacy centres are functional in jails of Kasur and Toba Tek Singh, whereas others are in the establishment process. “However we plan to establish such centres in all 99 jails of the country.”

She said, “In September we have launched Non-formal Education project in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Association (JICA) in Islamabad Capital Territory. In this project, 50 non-formal schools will be established for the age group of 8 to 14 years.

“Education is absolutely beneficial for society on the whole,” she stressed. It is a life-long process to each person that needs to be reinforced throughout life,” she added.

“However, we need education system that may eradicate illiteracy and may provide the common man an access not only to basic education but also to higher and technical education,” she emphasised.