In 1981 a step in the right direction was taken with the setting up
of the National Commission for Literacy and Mass Education. The Commission
prepared the first national literacy plan. Although approved by governmental,
it was not implemented.
Efforts were made to make out of school children literate but hardly
any thing worthwhile was done to promote adult literacy. One of the
reasons was the difficulties involved in running adult literacy programmes.The
Commission has since been abolished. It was replaced by the EFA (Education
for All) wing of the Ministry of Education. This comet too have been
scrapped and its activities merged in the projects wing.
In 1990 the biggest ever international education conference was
held in Jomtien, Thailand attended by more than one hundred education
ministers and senior representatives of almost all the UN agencies
including the World Bank and of course UNESCO. Pakistan too attended
it and committed itself to the goals set for the next 10 years.
Unlike China, India, Indonesia and many other countries. Pakistan
failed to meet its commitments primarily because of lack of political
will on the part of the government and indifference of the federal
education ministry and provincial departments of education.
While the Government of Pakistan has finally recognized the urgency
of promoting adult literacy, and a national plan has been prepared,
an adequate institutional infrastructure has yet to be established
at the central provincial and district levels (except for Punjab
where a full fledged ministry for literacy has been established
and NWFP where a literacy programme has been lanched by the Elementary
Education Foundation). Adequate allocations for the implementation
of the program are yet to be made. Most of the burden of this task
has been placed on the districts where under the new system, Executive
District Officers-EDOs (Literacy) have been appointed in some of
the provinces. The operation of the literacy centers is to be entrusted
to the NGOs but actually there are very few NGOs with experience
in the field of adult literacy and their capacity too is generally
quite inadequate. It is not realised that imparting of literacy
in rural areas is a very difficult and a highly complex job. Many
programs lauched by government and even by NGOs have met with only
a partial success because of the lack of special efforts needed
to run such litetracy centers.
This is where PACADE's role as a catalyst and specialist on adult
literacy assumes significance. PACADE ahs been running Adult Female
Litetracy Centers in villages near Lahore for the last 10 years.
It has been able to evolve a methodology which can yield goods results.