Changes in Levels of Educational Attainment in Pakistan: 1951-1961

M. S. Jillani


Education is one of the basic problems facing the developing
nations. It is considered an index of the social and intellectual
advancement of a popula¬tion. This statement may not be absolutely
correct; yet there is no denying the fact that progress of literacy and
education is closely connected with the social and economic levels
attained by a country. Pakistan stands among the least literate
countries of the world. The 1961 Census showed a literacy rate of 15.9
per cent1. This was an apparent decline from the 19.0 per cent literacy
rate registered in the 1951 Census. Actually, however, the decline was
not real but resulted from a difference in the definition of literacy
used in the 1951 and 1961 Censuses of Population. The 1951 definition
treated as literate all persons who could read any language in clear
print, thus including an estimated number of about 4.3 million persons2
who could read only the Holy Quran—and that also without understanding3.
The 1961 definition was a notable improvement over that of 1951 because
it considered only those persons as literate who could read a simple
letter in any language with understanding.

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