Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



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

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.

M. S. Jillani

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