Currently only 54% of the population aged 15 or over can read or write (66.25% male and 41.75% female). Of the youth population (15-24 years), the literacy rate (2004-8) is 79% for males and 59% for females.
Efforts to improve literacy rates have focused on improving inputs, such as, teacher qualifications and training as well as the curriculum, texts books and school conditions. Research studies have tended to focus on these inputs and have generally not considered how they and other efforts impact the learning outcomes of students.
There has been some progress in setting up systems to assess learning achievements in Pakistan- for example, the National Education Assessment System (NEAS). Results from an initial survey show that:
- Teachers' use of the blackboard during lessons significantly increased students' achievement in Urdu, mathematics, general science and social studies.
- Students who never got punished by their teachers performed significantly better.
- Teacher training appeared to have little effect on student achievement.
Bell, E. Helpdesk Report: Learning Outcomes in Pakistan. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2011) 21 pp.