Investing in the future: Low literacy rate blamed for stunted growth of country

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Addressing students and teachers at an event held in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA), speakers said education moulds public opinion and diverts young minds towards positive activities.

In her address, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWT) MPA Begum Meraj Hamayun said not only parents, but the state was also bound to provide children the opportunity of learning. She added the provincial government will never hesitate to provide students the opportunity to learn.

“We currently have 3.5 million children out of school. We are bound to bring them to schools and provide them free education under Article 25(A), and the free education bill will be tabled soon,” said Hamayun. She blamed the previous government for failing to address education woes and enacting necessary legislation, but stated the current government would be different in this regard.

Humayun claimed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government will introduce a curriculum that is acceptable to everyone. “The government has been focusing on mental, moral and social growth of children. Students from far away villages cannot compete with students in the city. Our aim is to produce quality students who can contest at all levels,” she added.

Former K-P education minister Sardar Hussain Babak, on the other hand, lashed out at PTI’s efforts. “PTI lacks political will and is immature. We don’t expect anything new from them.”

He claimed the prevalent mindset conspiring against education must be defeated. However, he did offer to share his expertise with the PTI government to improve literacy rates in the province.

PUTA President Jamil Chitrali argued the government must take students scoring between 45% and 85% under its wing and utilise their capabilities. He claimed students who attain more than 85% opt for engineering or medical school, while the others are left behind.

He also proposed introducing coeducation at the primary level so that girls who have lost their schools, either due to militancy or other calamities, can be accommodated in boys schools.

Earlier during the event, students from University Model School and University Public School performed national songs.

In Parachinar, students on Monday held a walk to mark International Literacy Day which is observed worldwide on September 8. On the occasion, Kurram Agency Assistant Political Agent Muhammad Asghar Khan asked tribal elders to play their due role to increase literacy figures in the region. “Development is impossible without education,” he said.

Participants in the walk also held banners in favour of education. Later, a debate competition and a friendly basketball match were held at Model High School.

Source: The Express Tribune