Pakistani or not, if you are even an occasional news consumer, you have undoubtedly heard the issue of illiteracy plaguing many countries, especially those in the Global South. Pakistan is one of such countries, with approximately 22 million children between the 5-16 age group being out of school — this represents 44 % of children in this age group. This doesn’t include the gender disparity in access to education; for every 100 boys enrolled in school, 86 girls are enrolled. As a result of this limited access to education from a young age, Pakistan has a high illiteracy rate amongst its adults, with only 58 % of its adult population being able to read and write.
Poverty, lack of government funding and social norms regarding education, all contribute to Pakistan’s illiteracy problem. Those looking to reform Pakistan’s education system have many tasks ahead of them, which begs the question: Where do we start?
At TeeSquare, we believe that it’s important to start by coming to terms with these 3 important realities. Only then, can we move forward.
Education is a Right, Not a Privilege.
Education is a right, but in Pakistan it is systematically treated as a privilege. A resource only reserved for those who can afford it instead of a resource readily available to everyone, regardless of their background.
There are numerous disparities; Regionally, urban literacy rates are at 74 %, whereas rural literacy rates are at 46 %. When it comes to private and government institutions, private schools have better infrastructure yet higher fees and more requirements. There’s also a noticeable disparity created by household incomes, as enrollment in “better” schools is easier with a higher family income. In a society where education is a right, it must be accessible to all. At TeeSquare, providing accessibility to all our students is of the highest importance. By creating an accelerated learning program accessible anywhere using a digital application — which can work offline– we allow students to complete the full coursework of KG to Class 2 in 36 weeks. We believe no one should miss out on foundational education.
Illiteracy is an Injustice
We would go so far as to say that illiteracy is a social justice issue. Education is a tool to empower the population to think independently and critically. Pakistanis, especially young Pakistanis, who are learning and getting educated today are the voters, teachers, leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. If our pathways to literacy are not open to everyone due to gender or income discrimination, we are doing ourselves and our citizens a grave injustice.
Which is why TeeSquare has a digital application available for independent learners of all ages, whether they are a child of primary school age or a mother hoping to gain the foundations of English, Urdu and basic Mathematics. Such basic skills in reading, writing and computation don’t just set the baseline for professional development but help learners with basic tasks like buying groceries, reading signs or helping their children with schoolwork.
Become Flexible in How We Can Make Education Accessible
With the COVID pandemic hitting in 2021 and distressing floods in 2022 Pakistan has suffered devastation after devastation. As a result, schools and students have suffered, with nearly 27,000 schools have been damaged throughout the country. With excessive damage to infrastructure and electricity, remote learning has not been an option for many. Flexibility when it comes to offering education is incredibly important when it comes to such difficult times.
TeeSquare ensures our gamified digital learning app is available to students who may not have consistent access to electricity. Our app is accessible offline, meaning learners can easily complete their lessons without the internet.
Join Us In Empowering All Learners
Reforming education and increasing literacy rates in Pakistan is no easy task. However, by understanding the importance of education and reckoning with the vital role it plays in our social and economic development, we are already one step ahead. Since 2018, TeeSquare has been trying to make basic education inclusive and accessible to students from all backgrounds. Learn more about how you can join us on our mission to empower the learners and changemakers of Pakistan here: https://www.teesquare.org/about/