History stands testimony to the fact that no nation has ever been able to achieve significant progress without giving education priority that it unquestionably merits. Had those who have been at the citadel of power, over the past 65 years, known the value and importance of education in every sphere of national development, be it social, political or economic, education would not have met the fate that it unfortunately has in our part of the world.

Callousness on the part of successive governments towards education, and their failure to appreciate the value of education in a nation’s progress and prosperity compels one to think if they at all knew what education was all about. They, perhaps, do not know that the success of a nation lies in fostering education in the society. Nations which have realized the importance of education and made sustained investment in this vital sector are today reaping the benefits of phenomenal progress and prosperity. They are not only self-sufficient but are also sharing the benefits of their success with countries which are lagging behind in all spheres due to lack of education.

A quick glance through statistics reveal that neighboring India is currently spending 4.1 percent of its GDP on education; Sri Lanka is spending 5 percent and Bangladesh 2.4 percent. According to World Bank data, the expenditure on education in countries like sub-Saharan Ethiopia is 4.6 percent of GDP; 5.3 percent in Ghana and 4.6 percent in Bhutan. Pakistan’s current spending on education at 1.8 percent of GDP, it is indeed pathetic. Experts believe, and it is also the need of the hour, that this meager amount of spending on education should be urgently raised to at least 4 percent of the GDP. Would the government in power and the government in waiting give any serious thought to this vital issue for the sake of this nation?

M. FAZAL ELAHI,

Islamabad, December 3.