A small village in Northeastern Punjab in Pakistan, Rasool Pur has made headlines for being a model for a close to utopian civilization.
With a 100 percent literacy rate and 0 percent crime rate, the citizens of the village celebrated international literacy day on Wednesday, as it is celebrated on 8th August, congratulating each other and appreciating the work done by the teachers to reach this milestone.
Mehtaab Jahan, principal of Government Girls High School Rasool Pur, talked to the Anadolu agency saying: “I was transferred here two years ago and got amazed by the remarkable sense of responsibility of the people. No one litters on the road; the whole village is a non-smoking zone.”
With a population of 2000-3000, the citizens of Rasool Pur are majorly Baloch migrants, who migrated to the Southern village in Punjab in 1933-34.
At the time, they had no permanent source of income, hence, education became their tool to earn a source of living.
The village has two high schools and a primary school. After students complete high school, they go to a college in the nearest township of Jampur city, which is 8-10 kilometers (5-6 miles) away.
“I have 300 girls in my school and there is almost the same number of students in the boys’ school. We do not believe in how the United Nations defines literacy – as the ability to sign one’s name – every person here has to finish high school, otherwise, the elders do not give them permission to participate in the society” said Jahaan.
According to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey, the literacy rate of the population was stagnant at 60% in 2019-20 since 2014-15.
While explaining the social behavior of the people, Mehtaab Jahan shed light on the most important factor which contributed to the achievement of a 100% literacy rate.
“All the women of the village are educated here. This shows that they understand the importance of women’s education. This is the main reason that all the children, as soon as they reach the age of 4-5, start their education,” said Jahaan.
The village has its own league called Rasool Pur Development Society, which is responsible for collecting donations for the people who cannot afford education. The society also makes sure that no one drops out of school.
Jampur Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Farooq also spoke of the importance of this village about how Pakistan is viewed around the world.
“This village is representing Pakistan’s actual image in the whole world. They contribute in making it possible for everyone to get an education and maintain a clean and friendly environment to live in.”
To encourage the children and their parents to continue this decade-old commitment towards education, a yearly function has been organized by the community in which they appreciate students who achieve positions in competitive and university-level exams.
Dilawar Saleem, a resident of Rasool Poor, said, “Encouraging the students and showing them the success stories of their elder siblings make them achieve even higher goals.”
Meanwhile, a 100% literacy rate is not the only achievement of the village. The police station of this model village has not registered a single criminal case in the last 100 years, which shows how being responsible for other’s rights is everyone’s concern.
“We have a strong network of communication among us, which has been passed on by our ancestors. No one tries to cross the line when it comes to maintaining the law and order situation. This is the rule which has abled us to attain zero crime rate in our village,” Saleem stated.
According to the Pakistan Economic Survey, the Punjab government has allocated 34.6 billion rupees ($203.5 million) for 110 ongoing and 29 new development projects of the education sector during 2020-21.
Punjab’s Education Minister Murad Raas said, “It is a commendable effort done by the community engagement where the importance of education is exercised with great vigilance and compassion.”
“This is how we envision the expansion of modern civilization in which education is regarded as the fundamental right of every child and adequate steps are taken towards its expansion. We strive to implement the model in rural, remote rural, and urban centers of Punjab,” he added.