Answering education emergency


According to the global monitoring report published in 2010 by Education for All, an international movement led by Unesco, South and West Asia accounts for more than half the world’s 759 million illiterate adults. Sadly, Pakistan ranks on fourth in the list of countries with highest illiteracy rates. Although urban literacy rates in Pakistan are twice as high as the rural average; within urban areas, illiteracy tends to be concentrated in informal settlements characterized by high levels of poverty. These settlements are inhabited by either internally displaced people or less privileged classes. It is easy to comprehend that a vicious cycle is formed by illiteracy and poverty, and those trapped in this cycle are unable to liberate themselves due to lack of opportunities.
Today our nation is fighting on many fronts which include an internal war against terrorism, and our battle to overcome the aftermath of recurring natural disasters such as floods and to resettle the internally displaced people. It is critical for the future prosperity of our nation that we find constructive outlets for these citizens, who have lost their livelihoods, homes and even family members in some cases. Considering the fact that the affected children are vulnerable to far-reaching negative impacts of terrorism and natural disasters, it wouldn’t be erroneous to say that ensuring their education has to be our top priority. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Pakistan Education Task Force co-chair Shehnaz Wazir Ali declared education emergency in March 2011 keeping in view that millions of children are exposed to the disastrous consequences of illiteracy.
Experts assert that there is a strong correlation between education and progress, especially in emerging economies.