A recent survey has found that among the developing countries of the Asia Pacific region, Pakistan is at the rock bottom of the literacy rate as two out of three Pakistanis are illiterate.
The Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education's findings contradicts claims that the Education Sector Reforms Programme (ESRP) has improved the literacy situation in the country.
Confirming the report's findings, an education ministry official told Daily Times newspaper: "We badly missed all targets set under the ESR plan. It is unlikely that we could meet the targets."
According to the survey: "Two out of every three Pakistani adults are illiterate; 45.3 percent people have no access to early childhood care and education; 40.3 percent have no access to primary schools and 76.1 percent to secondary school."
The report also covers improvements in the education sector in 2005. It shows that 58.9 percent of the Pakistani population is still illiterate.
It said that Pakistan's primary school teachers are overworked and under-trained as there is only one teacher for 51 students at an average.
In 2001, the government finalised an Action Plan 2002-2006 under the ESRP. The plan aimed at increasing the overall literacy rate from 49 percent in 2000-01 to 60 percent by 2005-06; the primary school enrolment rate from 66 to 76 percent; middle school enrolment rate from 47.5 to 55 percent; the secondary school enrolment from 29.5 to 40 percent and higher education enrolment from 2.6 to 5 percent.
Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education is a network of 200 organisations and individuals involved in formal and non-formal adult education and is partner in the Global Campaign for Education.