LANDI KOTAL, Sept 8: Speakers at a function on Saturday cited meagre allocation of funds for education, prevailing law and order situation and teachers skipping duties as the main reasons for low literacy rate in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The function was jointly organised by Fata Education Directorate and National Commission for Human Development at a government school in Jamrud to observe the International Literacy Day.
The speakers, mostly from the education department, lamented that a paltry two per cent funds of the national budget were allocated to education, which were not enough to raise literacy rate to the desired level.
“Literacy rate in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is over 90 per cent, but we are yet to achieve even 50 per cent literacy rate,” said Atiqur Rehman, principal of higher secondary school Jamrud.
He said that majority of government school teachers in tribal areas were not properly performing their duty and as a result most of the students discontinued studies halfway. “Ironically no authority exists in Fata to keep a check on attendance of teachers,” he said.
Mr Rehman lamented that no accurate data about the school going, dropped out and illiterate children was available. He claimed that official figures about literacy of boys and girls were exaggerated.
He said that hundreds of schools were destroyed in Fata, but the government had miserably failed to repair them. “It is a deep-rooted conspiracy to deprive Fata people of their basic right to education,” he said, adding that the government should come forward to secure the future of Fata youth.
Fazal Wadood, NCHD programme manager, said that promotion of education could guarantee peace and development in tribal region.
Assistant education officer Mohammad Nawaz stressed the need for imparting quality education to children.
The function was followed by a walk, which was participated by students and teachers.
In Chitral, a function was held in connection with International Literacy Day that was jointly organised by education department and NC HD.
Led by EDO Siraj Mohammad and NCHD general manager Mohammad Afzal, an awareness walk was held on the occasion.
In Kohat, a walk was held in Chakarkot area on Saturday to observe International Literacy Day.
The Ittefaq Welfare Organisation (IWO) also organised a ceremony at government primary school, PAF Base, Kohat, that was attended by a large number of teachers and students.
The chairman of IWO informed that more than 700 million people were illiterate worldwide. Most of them were in South Asia, Eastern Asia and Africa. He said that over 120 million of those people were below the age of 14 that was alarming for the future of the world.
In Mohmand Agency, a function was held at government higher secondary school Ghalanai on Saturday to mark International Literacy Day.
Speaking on the occasion, Additional Political Agent Said Ahmad Jan urged teachers to perform their duty with honesty.
At the end of ceremony, the additional political agent distributed certificates and prizes among the position holder students.
In Lakki Marwat, district elementary and secondary education department with the collaboration of NCHD held a walk to mark International Literacy Day.
DDO Rehmatullah Khan and ADO Abdul Rehman Rasheed led the walk. Students, teachers, and officials of NCHD and education department participated in the walk.
They were carrying banners inscribed with slogans highlighting the importance of literacy and promotion of education.
In Peshawar, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) organised a ceremony to observe International Literacy Day. Sparc programme manager Imran Takkar told the ceremony that there were around 1.5 million street children in Pakistan.
“Education is a fundamental right of every individual under Article 25-A of the Constitution,” he said, adding that it was essential to sensitise people about the importance of education. He urged government to formulate law and take measures to increase literacy rate in the country.
In Charsadda, a meeting was held in connection with International Literacy Day at a school. The meeting was participated by EDO Attaullah Miankhel, TB Association president Bahramand Khan, secretary Abdul Salam, Waqar Shams, Shoaib Khan, DDO Ulfat Begum, religious scholars, teachers, students and social workers.
They said that imparting quality education to children was vital for progress and prosperity of any nation. They said that it was their national and religious responsibility to make serious efforts for promotion of education.