Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Illiteracy in Pakistan

With a population of 170 million, Pakistan bears the burden of one of the most illiterate countries in Asia. About half of the male population is illiterate and nearly two thirds of the female population can't write their names. By comparison, in war ravaged Afghanistan 66 percent of boys attend primary schools, and in India 80 percent of its children go to primary schools. In Zimbabwe, after decades of Mugabe’s disastrous rule, about 80 percent of the children complete primary education. So, why is a country with nuclear arms and elaborate security keeping its citizens illiterate?

Pakistan spends 66 percent, nearly 2.6 billion Euros, of its annual budget on military expenditure and only 2.5 percent on education, roughly 600 Euros for each child of school-age. The wealthy send their children to private schools whilst the poor are forced to send their children to madrassas (koranic schools) or to cotton fields to earn a living.

Photos by Ziyah Gafic

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