Over 90% school children cannot read adequately: Experts

KARACHI: Over a 90 per cent of the nation’s school-going children cannot read adequately. More than a 98 per cent of school children cannot write accurately be it in Urdu or English, and over a 99 per cent of teachers in private schools do not know anything about phonetics and phonology.

It was disclosed by the leading educationists and literary experts here at the All Pakistan Children’s Mushaira’ held at the Karachi Expo Centre yesterday evening. The poetic symposium, one of its kinds, was organized by an Urdu monthly ‘Mahnama Sathee.

Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza was the chief guest on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Saleem Mughal, a renowned educationist, said a child who cannot read cannot learn and despite getting a formal education in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools, a majority of young kids never learn the art of writing and reading.

Sharing the latest findings of educational researches, he said: “Our school teachers, mostly in the private school systems, fall at the lowest level of literacy, and they don’t know an iota about phonetics and phonology at all.”

Senior Urdu journalist and writer Athar Hashmi said that the poor reading skills among today’s children is a matter of concern and they must be encouraged to build reading habits in their mother tongue even before joining the formal schools.

Many other leading poets, writers and intellectuals also spoke on the occasion and recited their poetry written for the younger audiences. More prominent names included Masood Ahmed Barkati, Professor Inayat Ali Khan Tonki, Ishtiyaq Ahmed, Akhtar Abbass, Shaam Durrani, Ahmed Hatib Siddiqui, Ibn-e-Aas, Ufaq Delhivi, Zia-ul-Hassan Zia, Shareef Shaiva and others.

At the concluding session, the “Sathee Writers Awards for 2015” were also given to selected Urdu writers, poets and essayists for their valuable contributions made in Urdu literature for children this year.