Pakistan has seen its fair share of violence that has torn the country apart. Part of this was a disruption in the education of the youth. Pakistan currently spends seven times more on military spending than on primary school education. The results of this is shown in the numbers of children in school and the literacy rates—63 percent of school-age children in class and 49.5 million adults can’t read. And within these numbers, 4.5 million girls don’t attend school and two-thirds of adult women are illiterate. Since 1999 Pakistan has made rather small progress. Recently, however, Pakistan has made a commitment to improve education.
That is why the statement of Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, addressing education issues at the Oslo Education Summit is so important. Sharif stated that that his government will focus on improving the quality of education for both boys and girls as well as increasing the opportunities for young girls to attend school.
Recently, Pakistan’s poverty rates have begun to slip again. This is due to the large increase in population and the low productivity of the population due to a lack of education. Another factor is the inequality of education and literacy rates between men and women. About 70 percent of men are literate, compared to the 40 percent of women.
By increasing education opportunities for the youth, especially female children, Pakistan can begin to turn around the poverty rates. They will create a more informed population that begins to transform the economy and raise Pakistan’s poverty rates.
Sharif believes that by investing in education, Pakistan can begin to improve the living conditions for its people. During the Oslo Conference he stated, “education of youth is the only way forward for socio-economic progress of our future generations and that eradicating illiteracy is essential for promotion of peace, tolerance, and harmony in any society.”
– Katherine Hewitt