DAWN, ISLAMABAD, 20th SEPTEMBER 2013: Pakistani women having good literacy skills earn 95 per cent more than those with weak literacy skills, according to fresh data released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on Thursday as prelude to the 2014 ‘Education for All Global Monitoring Report’.
While only 30 per cent of the unlettered women believe they can have a say over the number of children they have, the ratio increases to 52pc among women with primary education and to 63pc among those with lower secondary education.
The data released by Unesco just before a discussion on the development agenda during the coming UN General Assembly shows that education plays a vital role in giving young women the freedom to make decisions to improve their lives.
The team formulating the forthcoming Unesco report has cited Mariam Khalique, a teacher who has used education to foster the confidence and abilities of her pupils, as prime example of women playing important roles in society because of their education.
One of Ms Khalique’s many pupils is Malala Yousufzai who is now known across the world for her advocacy of girls’ education.
The analysis was released at a school in New York, where Ms Khalique taught a class full of people about the benefits of education.
“Education has unrivalled power to reduce extreme poverty and boost wider development goals,” said one of the blurbs released on the occasion to promote the ‘Education for All Global Monitoring Report’.
“Investing in education, especially for girls, alleviates extreme poverty through securing substantial benefits for health and productivity, as well as democratic participation and women’s empowerment,” said another blurb.
“To unlock education’s transformative power, however, new development goals must go further to ensure that all children benefit equally not only from primary education but also from good quality secondary schooling.”
The Unesco team led by Pauline Rose says that education also helps girls and young women to resist oppressive social limits on what they can or cannot do.
The analysis shows that education equality improves job opportunities and serves to enhance economic growth. If all children, regardless of their backgrounds and circumstances, had equal access to education, productivity gains would boost economic growth.
Over a period of 40 years, per capita income would be 23pc higher in a country with equality as compared to one with unequal educational opportunities.
According to the analysis, people with higher education are likely to use energy and water more efficiently and to recycle household waste. Across 29 mostly developed countries, 25pc of the people with less than secondary education expressed concerns for the environment, compared to 37pc with secondary education and 46pc with tertiary education.
Ms Rose adds: “Our analysis provides evidence that educated girls are far more likely to be able to protect their children from preventable diseases, and to stave off malnutrition in their children’s early years.”