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March 7, 2017

Non-formal education must for higher literacy rate

March 7, 2017


Without non-formal education, we will not be able to achieve 90 per cent literacy rate & 100 per cent enrolment as targeted in the vision 2025 of Pakistan to achieve universal primary education. For this purpose National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) has been tasked to prepare a realistic action plan with appropriate programme interventions and necessary resources to achieve its targets for a literate society for Pakistan.

This was observed by the chairperson NCHD and former Senator Razina Alam Khan while sharing with senior management on Monday regarding her experience of two weeks visit of Japan as head of Pakistan education delegation to study the Japanese education system.

She said that National Education Policy was an excellent strategy towards promotion of literacy which will help in standardising literacy and non formal programmes in the country.

She asked the senior managers to prepare accelerated syllabus for out of school children keeping in view the skill training and technical aspects. She urged for robust monitoring and evaluation programme for real time monitoring of literacy drive of NCHD. She observed that multigrade teaching required specific training and this aspect of prime importance should not be neglected.

The chairperson acknowledged the need for an institutional response to the pertinent and critical position of NFE in provision of learning opportunity to marginalised people. Both bilateral and multilateral development partners are supporting the government’s initiatives in the areas of literacy and NFE across the country at different levels (federal, provincial and local) targeting various population groups, she added.

Although there is a shared vision among them to provide quality alternative learning opportunities, many of the activities and programmes by various stakeholders are carried out in a silo manner with different understanding, practices and approaches, she said. It may lead to a difficult situation to arrive at a common understanding on learning standards of NFE, ensuring learner’s integration from non formal education to formal education and participation in the technical and vocational education, she added.

To address such issues in a coherent and synergic way, the National Education Development Partners Group (NEDPG) which is the group consisting of the international development partners working on education, has set up a sub group on NFE aiming to provide a platform to all development partners working on non-formal education to facilitate the process of strengthening the non formal education in Pakistan by increasing effectiveness and efficiency of interventions and programmes, she further added. The NFE working group regularly organizes the information sharing and work planning meetings as well as provides relevant inputs to the NEDPG for further dialogue with the national counterparts on promoting the importance of NFE and advocating for adequate policy attention, she informed.

She said, Japan despite suffering from earthquakes, tsunamis and World War II, made swift economic progress in the twentieth century because of political, social and spiritual factors supported by education and skill development as intelligent combination of these components, which contributed to the economic growth of Japan. In addition, Japan model of education was ‘modern’ and technology based in content, and it was designed keeping in mind the social needs of the learners which vigorously promotes vocational and technological skills, she viewed.

She said that, currently Pakistan’s education statistics reflect a challenging situation as the literacy rate is only around 60 per cent which means 57 million people cannot read and write.

The number of out of school children is also 24 million, which recently declined during the PML-N government, because of its massive efforts in the field, she informed. This situation however compels us to take measures on emergency basis, she added. While talking about NCHD she said that, NCHD was established as an autonomous body to work as a support organization in the field literacy and Non-formal Education.

The NCHD in a short period of time won International Reading Award of Literacy from UNESCO, and it was declared as a Lead Agency in the field of literacy for Pakistan. The NCHD had imparted literacy skills to 3.4 million illiterates in the country and 310,146 children are acquiring education in 5,949 Feeder Schools, where 6,581 Facilitators/Teachers are delivering multigrade teaching to the learners, she added.

She informed, NCHD besides its regular programs focused on developing collaborations with international organizations working in country on non-formal education and launched many models.

The NCHD and JICA entered into a collaboration to enhance education rate in Pakistan, and have launched ‘100% Literate Islamabad Project’ in which 50 Non formal Schools are being established for the age group of 8 to 14 years in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Already 20 schools of the project are running successfully in Islamabad, she further informed. "We can achieve the targets of vision 2025 and SDGs but there is a need of collective will of International community to ensure necessary support will be provided to developing countries”, she stressed.