What is illiteracy | Causes of illiteracy: Its Solutions

What is Illiteracy

What is Illiteracy ? Illiteracy is the quality or condition of being unable to read or write.

Illiteracy is a major problem throughout the world. According to Anne-Marie Trammell, "Worldwide, 880 million adults have been labeled as illiterate, and in the United States it is estimated that almost 90 million adults are functionally illiterate, that is to say that they do not have the minimal skills needed to function in society" (Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, 2009).

What is illiteracy | Causes of illiteracy: Its Solutions

What is Social Problem

Social problem are general factors that affect and damage society. A social problem is normally a term used to describe problem with a particular area or group of people in the world. Social Problem creates disorganization in society and disturb the functions of society. Social problem is a disruption in a social system and people feel to improve it.

Components of Social Problems/ Characteristics of Social Problem

1. Social problem is that condition which is disliked by the majority of the people.
2. Schoolers and other segments of the life are writing different aspects of problem.
3. The Social problem can be solved by the collective action instead of individual.
4. Majority of the people should be directly or indirectly effected from it.
5. Complexity of the problem is very much and difficult to understand.


According to census 1981 of Pakistan literacy has been defined as reading a paragraph of a 
language with understanding. 

According to senses of 1998 ‘a person was treated as literate if he could read newspaper or a 
journal and could write a simple letter in any language. 

According to census of 2017 Government of Pakistan expanded definition of literacy now definition of literacy is ‘ability to read and understand simple text in any language from newspaper or magazine, write a simple letter and perform basic mathematical calculation.

Illiteracy is a major issue in Pakistan. The growth of literacy rate in Pakistan is very slow 
compare to other developing countries like Siri-Lanka, India and Bangladesh. Illiteracy is not 
only problem itself it also causes of many other social issues like Poverty, Over population and 
barrier in development of society.

Current Literacy Rate of Pakistan 

The Pakistan Economic Survey revealed Thursday that the country's literacy rate increased 
by two percent to 60% in 2018-19 from 58% in 2015-16.

Mentioning the province-wise break-up, the report said that Punjab led all the other provinces, 
with a 64% literacy rate followed by Sindh (excluding merged areas) with 57%, Khyber 
Pakhtunkhwa (including merged areas) with 55% and Baluchistan with 40%.

Causes of Illiteracy


Pakistan is agriculture-based society and 67% population of Pakistan is living in rural areas. 
The main occupation of these rural people is agriculture and people feel that there is no need 
of education for land cultivation. 

Another reason is that some people think that if the child got education will become useless and will not cultivate the land. 

Thirdly, our cultural is male dominant and majority of the people don’t like female education and say there is no need to 
get education for a female as she has to live in a house. So, culture is the main cause of illiteracy.

Conservative mind

Illiteracy rate among women is higher than man. Most of the people in rural areas do not like 
women employment on government or private institute. Living woman in house is seen with 
good eye in the other hand working women is not liked in rural areas of Pakistan. That is why 
they do not like female education.

Illiterate parents

Educated parents like quality education for their children but in other hand illiterate parents do not like education for girl also do not care about male children as well. They do not know the value of education and do not give the importance to the education. Their kind of attitude is also reason of illiteracy in Pakistan.

Poverty or Low economic condition of family

Poverty is reason of illiteracy and implication as well. Poor economic condition of the parents also effects the education of their children. A poor father cannot afford education for their 

Large family size 

Majority of the population in rural areas has large family size with low resources. A person having 8-12 child is common in rural areas of Pakistan but in other hand this person does not 
have enough resources for education of the children. 

Secondly, he does not afford foods, clothes, for their children alone. He prefers to put their children on labour to support the family economically therefore these children could not get education.

Lack of facilities

In rural areas there are lack of education facilities, poor people can’t afford transportation for 
traveling to schools. 

Unemployment/Job preference

Majority of the Pakistan’s youth do not get good employment after getting education, this 
young generation prefer Government job if he/she is failed to get Government job do not do 
any other job and become useless for the family. 

Due to this reason many parents do not put their children in schools.

Lack of awareness

Lack of awareness is also reason of the illiteracy, majority of Pakistani do not know the importance of education. Even majority of the educated people think that education is the source of getting employment, but they do not know educated people are those who understand the modes/manners of life.

Impacts of illiteracy

Following are the impacts of illiteracy

Low development of sources

Illiteracy minimizes the social relationships in society which leads to less development of 

Barrier to Social Change

Society is making many advancements, techniques day by day and illiterate person cannot 
adopt or understand it, this thing will create hurdle in social change in addition society also 
cannot make progress.

Low prestige 

An illiterate person cannot get prestige while sitting among educated people, he is considered 
low class in society.

Abnormal attitude and dealing with people

When an illiterate person talks or deal with the people is fell abnormal because he cannot deal 
with a good way/manner.

Deprivation from recreations

An illiterate person is not able to read or write and he cannot read books, magazine, 


Illiteracy creates backwardness among the people. Illiterates are unable to understand the 
backwardness and its solutions.


Illiterate person cannot acquire/get good job in other hand he is not able to manage its resources 
therefore he becomes poor. Low level of education among high numbers of people the reason 
of poverty in society.

Crime and Violence

Illiterate people commit more crimes than educated people, his low education and poor 
economic condition urge them to commit crimes. 

Low quality of life

An illiterate spends low quality life acquires low status and cannot enjoy the life like educated 

Solutions of illiteracy

Following are the solutions of illiteracy

Awareness raising: There should be awareness rising among the community and they should aware regarding problem of illiteracy and its implications as well.

Attitude change: Government, NGOs and media should play its role towards community mobilization and changing their attitude towards this problem.

Government should keep check and balance on implementation of law regarding education.

Government should create employment opportunities for educated people and 

literate people should provide loan to start their business on lowest interest rate.

Literacy programmes: New literacy programmes should be introduced in those areas 
where there is lack of education facilities.

Importance of education should be increased at national level.

Ensure the facilities: Govt is providing free education and books to the students. The students should be provided free uniform, transportation, stationery as well.

Provision of employment opportunities to the educated people will encourage the 
people to get education.
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