Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Educational Studies
Title A Critical Analysis of School Enrollment and Literacy Rates of Girls and Women in Pakistan
Volume 45
Issue 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 424-439
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00131940903190477#.VDQERvl_v84
Since Pakistan's inception in 1947, the government has made continuous efforts to provide free, universal, basic education to its citizens. This is evidenced by educational plans, policies, and five-year education sector reforms, including partnerships with international agencies and developed countries. However, these efforts have not yielded any gains for the citizens. Pakistan has a literacy rate of 49.9 percent, one of the lowest in South Asia and the rest of the world. Pakistan's male and female literacy rates are 61.7 percent and 35.2 percent. The female literacy rate drops to 25 percent in rural areas, and girls' school enrollment of fifty-five percent drops to twenty percent from Grade 1 to 6. For the purposes of these statistics, a literate person is defined by Pakistan's Ministry of Education as one who can read a newspaper and write a simple letter in any language. Pakistan's population of 167 million is sixty-five percent rural and thirty-five percent urban, with citizens facing multiple interlinked issues affecting their quality of life, such as illiteracy, poverty, and the lack of basic necessities (shelter, gas, water, and electricity). In addition, a culture of feudalism and patriarchy creates structures of power and control that deprive citizens of their rights, including that of education (Farah 2007; Latif 2009). Studies have been conducted on education in Pakistan, but they have been limited in scope in terms of girls' education. This article addresses the gap in female literacy scholarship. Its purpose is to critically analyze the state of girls' education in Pakistan in terms of three factors: the reasons for low literacy and school enrollment rates, gender biases in curriculum and textbooks, and cultural norms. Based on this analysis, the article concludes with measures to increase school enrollment and literacy rates for girls and women.

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