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Female literacy linked to national development

Karachi: For the development and prosperity of Pakistan it is necessary that the government should focus on spreading education, especially female literacy, said speakers at a moot here.

Speaking at the Shura Hamdard Karachi chapter they emphasised the need of promotion of women education in the country which is essential for the empowerment of women and economic development of the country.

The meeting was held on the theme: “Important role of women education in the reconstruction of the society”, presided over by former Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court, Justice (retd) Haziqul Khairi at a local hotel. Sadia Rashid, President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan was also present at the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Khalida Ghaus, former Head of the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi (KU) and at present the Head of the Social Policy Development Centre, Karachi said that according to the UN Report 2012, 5.1 million children were out of school in Pakistan, In the world there were 12 countries that spend less than two percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education and Pakistan was one of them which showed the poor condition of education in the country, she added

“Pakistan has failed to develop its human resources. It is the importance of transformation of societal and stale values and structures that the development of human resource cannot be ignored”, she said adding that Pakistan ranked 145th among the list of 187 countries of the human development resource (HDR).

Highlighting the condition of female education in the country, she said that the ration of literacy was lowest in Pakistan and in South Asia and the ratio of female literacy stood at 32 percent, lowest being 17 percent in Balochistan and highest being 55 percent in Gilgit–Baltistan. Dera Bugti had the lowest female enrolment of one percent and that in four districts of Musa Khel, Pangur, Kohlu and Dera Bugti of Balochistan there was no female enrolment for matriculation, she said, adding that the greatest gender disparity with regard to population ever attended school was found in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

She said that the ratio of female to make combined enrolment rate was 0.6 percent in Pakistan which was lowest in South Asia and indicated a bias favour of males.

“Woman rights are human rights and a woman does not only follow the cultural values but is also responsible for character-building of new generation”, she said and added: “But she cannot do it properly without education”.

She said that education was now an “engine of growth” and clearly it was the production of ideas rather than the “production of goods” that provided a comparative advantage and the impetus for economic development. In the 21st century the world had entered the age of knowledge-based economy which necessarily required a higher average standard of education. This, however, did not merely need a skilled workforce but also required a more multi-disciplinary and holistic body of institutional knowledge both for economic productivity and ensure central enriched life style, she added.

“Women are part of the labour force and their education is necessary for the development of the country. Imparting education only is not enough in a globalised world as quality education is greatly needed to pace with the world and skilled workforce is required to meet the requirement of today”, she maintained.

“It seems that the policy-makers of the country don’t have the vision. Poverty, unemployment, violence and lawlessness are increasing in the country, she said and added: “A Pakistani woman considers herself as a victim and considers it as her destiny. This mindset of women should be changed, but cannot be changed without creating the self-esteem in women.”

Shamim Kazmi, a social worker while addressing the meeting said, “Seventy percent drop out was of female students from schools. The government has no funds thus our public government private (NGO) sectors partnership could do something for the promotion of female literacy.

She suggested that for collecting finance for female education, taxes on marriage halls be imposed for serving more than one dish. All such money thus collected to be monitored city-wise by a council of honest citizens. “We should not wait for buildings and structures and informal two hour schools, under trees or in huts, be started with flexible timing for girls as they have to perform domestic chores with their mothers. Retired teachers to be utilised, one rupee fee be charged and agricultural subjects be included in schools’ syllabus,” she concluded.

Justice (retd) Haziul Khaire was of the view that no movement for women education was launched by anyone throughout the Muslim history except in the 19th and 20th centuries when Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Rashidul Khaire, Maulvi Mumtaz Ali and Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir launched movements for education of males and females. Commodore (retd) Sadeed Anwar Malik said, “We cannot fight the economic war which is going on in the world with single-handedly confining our half of the population at homes.”

Anwarul Haq Siddiqui, Prof Dr Syed Irtifaaque Ali, Dr Shahid Hasan Siddiqui, Azhar Abbas Hashmi and Brig (retd) Syed Muzzaffarul Hasan also spoke.

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