Literacy through enrollement?

Javaid Bashir

Enrollment drive of a large number of school-going kids was initiated to increase the overall literacy rate. But it appears from experience that we have confined this target to rudimentary statistics. Its scope has been narrowed and limited rather than fulfilling its primary objective and promoting scholarship and increasing literacy in real terms. Fifth and eighth grade examinations are going to be held next month. Approximately 23.5 lac children were registered to appear in the exams by the Punjab Education Commission. A fresh directive has been issued according to which the Education Department will have to enrol another 1.5 lac registered students making it 25 lac. The teachers are extremely worried and startled over such an untimely directive because they can neither fudge the student enrollment figure nor give fictitious registration of children fearing departmental action, which may result in their dismissal from service. It is foolish to expect that such measures can increase the literacy rate. If the Education Department seriously wants to increase literacy in the province it should raise the standard of education in schools. It should not only facilitate the teachers and provide necessary books and other implements. It must provide tools for education. When the standard of schools would be improved parents will send their children to schools on their own. Mere enrollment can never increase literacy rate. We must adopt comprehensive educational policy to broaden literacy in the country.

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