Situated on the western edge of South Asia, Pakistan has a population of about 184 million, with sex ratio of 105.6: 100. It is estimated that about 62% of the people are residing in rural and 38% in urban areas. GDP Per Capita Income is US$ 1,368 for 2012-13. Pakistan is a developing country, steadily transforming from agriculture-based economy to an increasing share of industry and services sectors in the GDP. Country spends a major portion of its budget to address challenges of national security and interest payments on its loans. This leaves a relatively smaller amount to be invested on infrastructure development to boost economic growth and enable social sectors to meet basic needs of the people like education, health, social services etc. Pakistan is confronted with a host of serious development issues. Educational indicators of Pakistan are still dismally low, although steady progress has been noticed during last few decades. At present, about one third primary school age children are out of school, 42% population (age 10+) is illiterate. Wide discrepancies persist in education indicators pertaining to provinces/areas, location (urban vs. rural) and gender. At the national level, about two third women of age 15+ cannot read and write, and 35% girls remain out of school. Gender Parity Index in case of participation in primary education is 0.82. It is estimated that over 6.7 million children are out of school, and majority of them (62%) are girls.”
Having over 56% of countries population makes Punjab one of the most populous provinces of Pakistan. It consists of many important cities such as Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Multan, and Sialkot and so on. Over 3.8 million illiterate people currently reside in Punjab. This means that millions of people over the age of 15 cannot read or write in any language. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is 55 per cent and Pakistan stands at 160th in total countries of the world.
COPE Pakistan, keeping in view the above mentioned scenario will be focusing on the education and training of the children in a way that they will fulfill their desire of getting education but ultimately they will be contributing in the peace building efforts in the country, because COPE Pakistan believes that only Education can change violent thinking into constructive thinking. COPE Pakistan through this project would not only respond to the educational needs of working and disadvantaged children but COPE Pakistan efforts will complement efforts of the Government of Pakistan against Dakar Framework of Action and committed to achieving Education-For-All (EFA) and also complement efforts of Government of Pakistan in achieving Sustainable Development Goals no 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” COPE Pakistan will enroll 300 working and disadvantaged children in 10 Non Formal Education Centers that will be established in District Okara, Kasur and Lahore. COPE Pakistan will also provide opportunities to the families of targeted children to get out from the darkness of poverty through income generation schemes. COPE Pakistan will also provide training on Life Skills, Health and Hygiene to enrolled children in centers. COPE Pakistan.
Education is a basic right for every human and has now become a standard to measure the social progress of nations. It is surely a key to the political, social and economic development. In the recent history, it has become a prominent phenomenon. The education policy is always on the top of national priorities today. The recent flared situation of global intolerance is also believed to be linked with literacy. Literacy rates have been proved with research to be linked with the economic development of the country. The literate societies are more earning today. They have greater social and political stability. So literacy is an important aspect internationally. Pakistan faces a challenge of the low literacy as compared to the developing countries. The country has one of the lowest literacy rates of the region, in OIC Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates and when dealing with the causes of this we believe that following are the major
• Economic causes
• Gender Inequality
• Population growth
• Lack of quality and awareness
Economic causes are greatly affecting the literacy rate of Pakistan. Pakistanis a developing country where 38% people are living beneath the poverty line. They don’t have enough resources to fill their appetite. The household income is very meager and often not enough to support all the children for primary education. It is a matter of concern that even if the family household income is greater than the expenses the number of children is greater than savings to afford. Parents prefer their children to work so that in some pressure could be met easily. The economic cause is a major cause and no research has denied this. The second major cause pointed out in various pieces of literature we studied was the gender inequality. Pakistan has large proportion of female population which remains uneducated and thus has a serious impact on overall view of country’s literacy profile. This reasons also linked with financial constraints. The social norms give a definite preference to the male child. Thus whenever there is an option of picking the one child female child is always given the least priority. The literacy gap between male and female that was 19% in 1981 and stands 24% in 1998.It is very expensive to be poor. One clear manifestation of this truth is that poverty is major barrier to schooling. It costs about half the annual income of poor rural families to send one child to primary school for one year.
Gender issues starts from the fact that social norms and religion is misinterpreted. People view that religion restricts females of the family within four walls of the house. This is a concrete belief especially in rural areas where majority of the Pakistani population resides. Here the awareness campaigns to dilute this effect are difficult because of the infrastructure unavailability. The gender inequality has severe effects over the overall literacy figures. People believe that women are not a long run family member since they have to leave after getting married. They think that men are members of family which have to support the family financially, to bear the expenditures of the family. Therefore they invest over the males neglecting the females. We also view sex-segregation as a reason for our low literacy rate. In the developing country like Pakistan where finance is a major problem, where we are not strong enough monetarily, we are stressing sex segregated schools. We believe in that the cultural norms here demand such measures however they should not be considered to an extent where they become a hurdle. Although the government is doing effort to provide the segregated schools and colleges for boys and girls but still it’s a problem. If we’ll wait for the separated schools for the girls we will deprive our generations from the basic right of education.