International Literacy Day ought not be a day for celebrations but a summon to action. This day must carry the spirit on an appropriate Moment\' to focus attention, concern, commitment and action on the issue on the Literacy and Basic Education.
The resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1967 provides the following objective in connection with the celebration of the International Literacy Day:
i) Every one has the right to education.
ii) Education shall be free at least in the elementary and functional stages.
iii) Elementary education shall be compulsory.
iv) Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
v) Education shall be directed to the full development and strengthening of the human personality and create respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.
vi) It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups and shall further the activities of the UN for the maintenance of peace.
For the last 28 years, UNESCO has been observing International Literacy Day. Considerable efforts have gone into creating a general awareness of the people\'s right to basic education.
Despite progress in extending basic! primary education and combating illiteracy, the problem does not register any significant change. During past forty-eight years, the number of primary schools has been increased about fifteen folds and the enrolment has by gone up by twenty-two times. But, unfortunately, the alarming pace of increase in population has negated this effort. At present, only one-third of the school age children are enrolled. This gloomy situation of over all education coupled with widening gaps between urban and rural and male and female ratio calls for revolutionary as well as firm measures to tackle the massive problem effectively. Education for all is not a slogan but a challenge which needs firm commitment and dedicated resolve to make the challenge a success. Education is no longer perceived as an assignment for a Government, but is considered to be a mission for a Nation to participate in and to Strive for.
Our Education System has gone through a lot of development and diversification on for decades now but, the fact remains that, with an overall 37% of literacy (this is an estimated ratio) roughly 49% for male and 24% for the female population, no wonder Pakistan ranks amongst the lowest literate nations in the comity of the Third World countries to-day. Additionally, the drop-out phenomena, which is of massive scale, is of deep concern for the education planners.
Lack of access to the schools, especially for the girls in the rural areas inn general and, the fast growing rate of population in our country in particular to make a major contribution towards hampering Governments sincere endeavours to achieve both, a reasonable rate of literacy and the universalization of primary education.
(Contributed by Prime Minister Library Commission)
To commemorate the International Literacy Day, Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 2/- denomination on September 8, 1996.