Pakistan: AKESP, NCHD programmes raising literacy rate in Northern Areas

By Sohail Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Despite social and religious constraints, people of the Northern Areas have been demanding an extension of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) literacy programme.

The NCHD is working under a tripartite partnership with the Aga Khan Education Services-Pakistan (AKESP) and Aga Khan Rural Support Pakistan (AKRSP) in the Northern Areas to achieve Education For All (EFA) goals at the district level aimed at 50 percent increase in the national literacy rate.

The NCHD is providing supervisory and monitoring support to the AKESP in adult literacy centres (ALCs) and post literacy centres (PLCs).

AKRSP Community Mobiliser Manager Attaullah Baig told reporters during their recent visit to the Northern Areas that the institution had been focusing on areas with low literacy rates by providing learning and teaching material to students and teachers.

“Previously, people of these areas were divided according to their religious sects and had separate education systems, but we succeeded in abolishing these systems and designed one practical syllabus for all,” he said.

NCHD Literacy Programme Northern Areas Director Munir Khan said that during the first partnership between the NCHD and AKRSP in 2005-6, 346 centres were established, adding that 7,691 students were initially enrolled of which 6,103 had graduated.

Daily Times

Khan said that the partnership convinced the NCHD on starting tripartite partnership with the AKESP and AKRSP in 2007-08. He said the NCHD had established 461 literacy centres enrolling 10,871 learners of which 7,837 had graduated. He further said that the NCHD has established 36 post literacy centres in which 852 learners had been enrolled who are expected to graduate in October 2008.

“The NCHD is working in the Northern Areas, including Skardu, Ghanche, Gilgit, Astor, Ghizer and Diamir,” he added.

He said it was the first programme aimed at educating mothers to benefit their children.

The NCHD has designed a five-month programme after which a graduate is able to write 7-10 sentences about his immediate environment, add, subtract and divide a three-digit figure and develop knowledge about techniques of tolerance and emotional control.

Talking to the visiting journalists, students of these centres said the ALC and PLC should continue as it has helped them read and write and run their businesses.

Hazrat Noor, 40, at an ALC located in Jalal Abad, Gilgit, said that previously she was not aware of the importance of different documents but after taking the classes, this changed.

“Once I lit fire by burning a utility bill to cook food as I could not read the manuscript before joining the centre,” she said, adding that now she is educated enough not to repeat such mistakes.

Ramazan Ali, 35, a student said that she was previously unable to teach her children, adding, “Now I can help my children with their homework.”

Another student, Fiza, said the government should launch skill-oriented programmes to help preserve locally produced fruits that rot due to a lack of awareness of ways to preserve them.

Community mobiliser Saeed Akbar said 10 centres had been closed down in Skardu, though residents are demanding the project to continue. He said the project proved effective in enhancing the literacy rate in the Northern Areas, adding that the government should also initiate such projects.


Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

5 thoughts

  1. what a beautiful job has been done by Akesp Northern pakistan focusing on ALCs and BLCs. as per report 7691 student were initially entrolled and 6103 had graduated. i would like to mention here that through this program AKESP CM, established a Basic Literacy Centre (BLC) in Rahmatabad Immit Ishkoman District Ghizer and intially 70 students male and female (both) got admission and enrolled as fresh students. so i would appreciate for this support to rural communities.
    Do best work for deserving communiy and educate every human being.
    Good luck and best whishes


  2. I read in todays newspaper that AKESP has set up a computer literacy center in the Northern area of Pakistan. The question is how does one teach ICT to the lesser educated as all the learning material is in English the understanding of which is limited specially in the areas of operation of AKESP.?
    We at Nishanerah, a learning center for the underprivileged have made an effort to solve this problem by translating a large number of basic computer literacy programs into short flash movies. These have been made in-house and are only for the use of our students. We have put some on our website to show one possible way of how to teach basic computer literacy to those whose understanding of English does not enable them to fully absorb the written material. The link to view some of these programs is given below.


    1. Hi Matin, Nice site. I might share it further. However, don’t you think translating computer literacy to Urdu is like taking a short-cut? IMHO, a beneficial approach in long-term would be English literacy along with computer literacy. This way beneficiaries will be able to better interact, share and learn when they are connected with rest of the world via WWW, which I believe is today’s version of the ancient Silk Route.


  3. Rosie has articulated it very well.
    English is a language of Science and International business.
    Tourism benefits also when English is understood and
    spoken as well.


  4. ya good website and articles.Mr matin now we have to set on a diffeent way for future development in Northern Areas as i see the global ploitics is now affecting this area both on cultural and geopolitical conditions..We have achieved a lot during last 3 or four decades under the umberlla of AKDN and other internbational NGos and a liitle bite from |Govt side.The most burning issue and thought provoking isssue is our identity.What will be our future status and at the same time thee is a quick change is occuring on the Golbal picture.We must prepare ourselves and must unite to come on a single view point that iswhat will be our identity.for comments on my article u may mail on this id


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