Pakistan has been placed at the 144th position out of 175 countries in terms of the Human Development Index. In other words, Pakistan ranks among the 30 bottom countries of the world.
Like others, in Pakistan too every effort has been made for the quantitative expansion of formal school education with the assumption that it will contribute to increase the literacy rate. This assumption has not held true during the last five decades and the country is still far away from universal mass literacy.
Definitions of Literacy in Different Census Years of Pakistan
1951 One who can read a clear print in any language.
- One who is able to read with understanding a simple letter in any language
- One who is able to read and write in some language with understanding
- One who can read newspaper and write a simple letter
1998 One who can read newspaper and write a simple letter, in any language.
Current Literacy Situation in Pakistan
The overall rate of literacy rate in Pakistan has been improving at very slow pace. In 1951, the overall literacy rate in Pakistan was 16.41% and after 50 years, the current estimated rate for 2003 is 51.31%. On the other hand, the total number of illiterates in Pakistan has almost doubled in absolute numbers. In 1951, there were only 22.54 million illiterates in Pakistan; while 1998 Census results show that illiterate population has risen to 48.84 million.
Although there was a raise in the literacy rate from 1972 to 1998, but the situation in Pakistan is still very gloomy; because the population keeps on increasing. Like wise the discrepancy between the literacy among males and females is at its peak.
The population census of 1998 establishes that the population of Pakistan is more than 132 million, of which the urban population is above 43 million and rural population is above 89 million. Pakistan has been placed at the 144th position out of 175 countries in terms of Human Development Index. In other words, Pakistan ranks among the 30 bottom countries of the world further, the ratio of male female enrolment is also alarming. Rural women are an important component in the complex subject of rural development in Pakistan. There is a growing realization on the part of the government that the participation of girls and women, who constitute half the population, is essential for any planned and rapid progress in all the districts of Pakistan.