09 September, 2011

World Literacy Day marked in Islamabad

Promoting a Culture of Reading in Pakistan

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Literacy is, rightly termed as ‘a bridge from misery to hope’. It is the ultimate key to open the door to progress, self learning which enhance human competencies and also help to achieve many other rights. On International Literacy Day (September 8) - a day aimed at highlighting the significance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies, several programmes were in arranged by academicians.

In Islamabad, over 2000 students of different schools and colleges took part in the advocacy walk on Thursday, from the National Press Club to the Literacy Day 2011. The procession themed on “Literacy for Peace” was organized by the Islamabad Crescent Lions Club (ICLC) and Development Communications Network (DEVCOM-Pakistan) in collaboration with various associations. Throughout the stroll, young students chanted slogans of “We want peace; we want education for all” and “We are out to save Pakistan, come along with us”. Impressive short messages on the placards and banners compelled the spectators to join the participants. Safina Shah, a participant, said that, “we will keep on striving for peace in our society by promoting literacy, because only by learning to read and write, we will be able to improve our lives and communities.”

Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), a network of civil society organizations committed to quality education, flagged a reminder on the quick implementation of the Right to Education ensured by the constitution under 18th amendment. As the overall literacy rate (age 10 years and above) is 57.7% (69.5% for male and 45.2% for female) compared to 57% (69% for male and 44% for female) for 2008‐09, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-2011.

A literate person is one, who can, with understanding, both read and write a short statement relevant to daily life. But literacy is not just about reading and writing; it is about respect, opportunity, and development. According to the academicians, “it is not enough to merely teach children to read, we have to provide them something worth reading that will extend their imaginations. Because formal education will give them a living; but self-education will make them a fortune."

However, despite clear evidences of the benefits of literacy, it remains one of the most neglected goals on the government’s agendas. Educationists believe that, “we require greater support of government along with all the services of departments and academicians to raise the standard of our education system throughout the country.”