Both developed as well as developing states set education as their priority aim. Education at school, college and university level is largely financed by the government. Especially, school education in the developed countries is almost free as far as the public sector education is concerned. However, in third-world countries the primary factor of backwardness remains as lack of education.
In Pakistan as of now, the literacy rate is 55%. It would be interesting to know that the definition according to which the percentage of literacy is calculated is that anyone who can read and write is a ‘literate’ person. Alarming it may be that among the population of our 200 men and women only half of them are literate – including many whose total ability is mentioned above.
In Pakistan, the duty to educate the masses lies on the shoulders of the state but when the constant shifts of governments and changes in systems by civil and military administrations were observed, private sector jumped in to share the burden. Presently, the quality education’s survival rests in the hands of private sector, which is quite unfortunate. However, some of the steps being taken by the government are worth applauding.
After the eighteenth amendment the task of education is now entirely in the hands of provincial governments. Although, provincial as well as federal governments have been introducing different schemes, time and again, to eradicate illiteracy from the country, most of them have not been very successful.
Punjab government however, has initiated a scheme to educate out-of-school children through its organization: Punjab Education Foundation (PEF). According to this program millions of children whose parents cannot afford school, or are child labours – will be brought to school and their families be facilitated.
Punjab is the biggest province of Pakistan in terms of population. Hence, the problems are bigger too. Education is one of the most burning issues of the province with millions of children on streets, instead of schools. PEF looks forward that children should hold books in their hands instead of tools. For this purpose the foundation surveys workshops and factories in different localities of the province so that the children of Punjab would be educated through proper system.
Such programs are nevertheless encouraging as well as worth adopting by the rest of the provinces of the country. Federal government should also support the provinces for such educational programs; as pen is much more powerful than the sword.