I wish to draw the attention of the concerned authorities towards the sorry state of education in our country. On the one hand, population and the rate of poverty is on a steep rise while on the other, the percentage of people receiving the education is on a steep decline. The poverty-stricken people cannot afford the high admission and tuition fees of even the government schools, let alone the private ones. The condition of these government schools is pathetic. There is little discipline; the number of teachers is inadequate, the teacher-student ratio is atrocious and attendance of the students highly irregular. Overall, the education is exceedingly disorganized. Taking advantage of this situation are the private schools who are charging an arm or a leg for imparting quality education. Immediate measures need to be taken to raise the standards in government schools. The matriculation boards also present an abysmal picture. The course books are crammed up with information that is outdated and usually unnecessary. That is why they are so irritatingly lengthy. Some of the material given in the books is also substandard. A whole host of subjects including English, Urdu, Islamic Studies, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Sindhi and Computers are taught in matric. If students can study all these subjects, why not include the Arabic as well? -SAHAR AMIN DHEDHI, Karachi, via e-mail, February 19.