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Promotion of literacy must for a progressive Pakistan: PM.

PESHAWAR, September 08, 2009 (Frontier Star): Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that that for a progressive Pakistan, we must gear up our efforts to promote literacy and education in all cross-sections of the society, including women. In his speech on International Literacy Day at a Seminar on "Literacy and Nation-Building: Approaching the Literacy Year 2010", organized by the National Commission for Human Development to mark the International Literacy Day the PM said Literacy, for sure, is the lifeline of any developed country and there is, thus, no denial to the fact that it alone is pivotal to human progress, most important key to development, and so vital for poverty alleviation. "Literacy and education, thus is the legacy of PPP's Government. Our government is fully committed in holding this as our top priority. The Government has declared Year 2010 as the "Literacy Year" with a focused resolve to accelerate the pace for meeting our targets. This in itself is a big challenge. But with the effective resource mobilization and with the able guidance and support of all our partners, I have every reason to believe that we shall, Inshahallah achieve our goals:, he said. In the current fiscal year, the Government allocated more than 31 billion rupees for the education sector. We plan to further increase this in the coming year. In this regard, I have already announced to raise the Education Budget to 4% of our GDP, from the existing 2.4%, he said. The Federal Ministry of Education has launched a scheme of establishment and operation of basic education and community schools in the country with a resource allocation of Rs 2 billion. Another 2 billion have been earmarked under the "Education for All" programme, with an aim to providing necessary facilities in the primary schools. The PM said The National Commission for Human Development has been asked to re-prioritize its goals and focus its energies in achieving the objectives of Universal National Literacy in minimum possible time. In achieving this task the government would provide all the needed support and skills and I hope that under the leadership of Chairperson, Ms. Nafisa Shah, NCHD will be able to perform well. He said Our existing Literacy Rate is about 55% whereas according to our National Plan of Action, it would have been 66%. The primary school enrolment is less than 70% and even in this, as many as 30% get dropped out before acquiring basic literacy skills. No civilized society can afford this sorry state of affairs and no nation can break the shackles of poverty and disease by remaining illiterate and ignorant. The message of Islam regarding the seeking of knowledge is very clear. The very first revelation that the Angel brought to the Holy Prophet was "Iqra" --- read. Islam makes it mandatory on its believers to put every endeavour to seek knowledge. Indeed Islam regards the seeking of knowledge a sacred duty for all followers. Thus no believer of Islam can be the enemy of knowledge and no Muslim can, therefore, dare destroying a seat of learning. The recent incidents of burning of girls schools in terrorism affected areas, especially in the Malakand Division clearly indicate that the forces behind such heinous acts are not the saviours but the enemies of Islam, he said. PM said our priority is to provide maximum resource allocation for the rebuilding of the girls' schools and colleges, which were the worst hit. We must not forget that literate mothers raise literate children and so one of the most effective ways to dent illiteracy in society is to educate mothers. Societies, which fail to educate women, condemn their children to a vicious cycle of ignorance and poverty. NCHD is the lead agency for literacy in Pakistan, which has been recognized by UNESCO. This national forum needs our combined efforts. I will ensure that NCHD gets the timely release of the required and approved funds of Rs. 2.7 billion during the current financial year, he said.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 8, 2009
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