The current literacy rate of Pakistan is 62.3 which mean that an estimated population of 60 million is illiterate in the country. Keeping in view this situation, the present government is according priority to enhance the national literacy rate. Accordingly, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training has included LITERACY in the national education priorities.
The National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, mandated to support human development efforts in Pakistan particularly in the fields of adult literacy, universal primary education, primary health, poverty alleviation, and capacity building, and volunteerism. Being the National Lead Agency for literacy, NCHD is contributing to promote literacy in the country for the last seventeen years.
Achievements in Adult Literacy
- Established over 170,190 adult literacy centers across the country including AJK and Gilgit Baltistan.
- Imparted basic literacy and numeracy skills to around 3.98 million adults, mostly women, since 2002.
- Trained 170,200 literacy teachers and 17000 supervisors in adult literacy, social mobilization, management of literacy centers etc.
- Established the National Literacy Resource Center in Islamabad. Developed more than 100 booklets and primers on literacy, practical life skills, and income generating activities.
- Introduced special packages of literacy in prisons, workplaces, and nomadic community keeping in view their specific needs.
- Successfully implemented several innovative projects in the field of literacy and skill development i.e. Mobile based literacy program, Community learning centers, Literacy centers in jails.
- NCHD received UNESCO International Literacy Award in 2006 in recognition of its outstanding work to promote literacy in Pakistan.
- Prepared the National Plan of Action for Literacy and NFBE in consultation with provincial governments.
- Established the first National Training Institute for Literacy and Non-Formal Education in Pakistan.
On-Going Projects/ Activities
- Establishment of 30 Functional Literacy Centers in GB and Chitral
NCHD established 30 functional literacy centers in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral with the support of Aga Khan Rural Support Program. These centers were established for women in the upper seven valleys of Chitral, Hunza and Ghizer districts. The purpose is to uplift the highly marginalized communities of these mountain valleys. The project has been completed recently benefiting around 650 women.
- Development of ICT based Training Videos
Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) improves the effectiveness of trainings of teachers and field managers. NCHD has completed development of six ICT/video based training sessions for the capacity building of teachers and field officers of literacy and Non formal basic education (NFBE). The project was funded under the UNESO Participation Program.
- Literacy Centers for Prisoners
Literacy centers in jails are aimed at helping the prisoners to mainstream in the society as a useful citizen in the post prison life. NCHD successfully completed 3 literacy centers in the jails of Sargodha. Literacy centers in Mansehra and Abbotabad jails are in progress.
- Community Learning Centers
The Community Learning Center (CLC) may be termed as a local institution which is established and run by the community for its own socio economic development. Through the establishment of CLCs, NCHD provides lifelong learning opportunities for the community members including children, youth and adults. Basic and post literacy are the key components of the CLCs. NCHD has helped to establish around 50 Community Learning Centers in 45 districts across Pakistan.
New Initiatives to Promote Literacy
- Collection of Data and Information
Keeping in view the importance of data to develop and execute projects in the social sector, NCHD took following major initiatives:
- Compilation of district and Union Council wise data on estimated number of adult illiterates.
- Collection of data on potential locations which are in immediate need of schools.
- Preparation of district literacy profiles comprising all relevant information.
- Establishment of 2000 Literacy Centers
Under public-private partnership, NCHD received financial support from Pakistan Human Development Fund (PHDF) for establishing 2000 adult literacy centers in Pakistan to literate around 150,000 adult illiterates. The project was launched recently in December 2019 in 38 districts covering all the provinces, AJK, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad Capital Territory.
Progress on the Project:
Community mobilization process has been completed in all the 38 districts and 2200 teachers and local area supervisors have been trained. 1930 the centers have been established in January. 70 centers have been postponed till February in Skardu and Ganche districts due to severe climatic conditions.
- Submission of project PC-1s
Under the guidance of the Ministry of FE&PT, following four project PC-1s have been submitted to the Ministry for coping with the issue of illiteracy in the country.
- Literate Pakistan for Sustained Development: Establishment of 36,900 literacy centers in 129 districts of Pakistan
- Prisoners literacy program (in 99 jails of the country)
- Promoting Literacy through ICT and Mobile Phones
- Literacy and Skill Development for Poverty Alleviation: Establishment of 400
Community Learning Centers
Detailed presentation has been given to the honorable Federal Secretary Education on the first two PC- 1s and subsequent meetings held with the concerned Ministry officials. It is expected that work on these projects will start soon after approval by the competent forum.
The project tilted “Literate Pakistan for sustained development” is designed to literate almost 811,800 adults across Pakistan in a period of 3 years. Prisoners’ literacy program is expected to literate more than 60% of the current illiterate population in the prisons of the country.