ISLAMABAD - The sorry state of our education system depicts that education at any level has never been a priority of any government, and so is today. International Literacy Day is being observed today (Tuesday) across the world. This years theme of the International Literacy Day is Literacy and Empowerment. In Pakistan the reason behind the current state of affairs is lack of political will and that the half-hearted efforts by the government that can be gauged by the fact that the Education Policy 2009 on which consultation process started in 2005 could not get approval from the cabinet. The draft of the policy has been lying with the cabinet since August 5 but never came on its agenda after passing a month. According to Economic Survey 2008-09 public expenditure on education as percentage to GDP was the lowest in Pakistan due to fiscal resource constraints that paved the way to synchronisation in terms of GDP allocation as the country spent only 2.10 per cent of GDP on education. According to academicians, inadequate allocation is not the only problem faced by the education sector, a large percentage of the allocated money also remains unspent. According to an assessment, about 60 per cent is held on. Misappropriation of funds is another area that afflicts the sector as the impact of the spent money is hardly felt at the classroom level. Currently around five types of educational institutions exist in the country, which impart various types of education according to the social classes of the students they belong to thus creating disparity among the nation. For elite there are chains of schools, which offer 'O and 'A Levels where they are taught foreign curriculum. Common man cannot compete them who come from government schools even from those which get majority of the funds of the government like Islamabad Model Colleges, Divisional Public Schools and Army Public Schools in the country. Though, they were built for the elite in 1960s, many of them have begun to show decline in performance and impart mediocre education. There is another category of schools that are situated in far-flung areas and always face shortage of facilities. Science teachers are hardly available for such schools. Thousands of ghost schools also exit in the country but only in the government documents. About madrassa education, so far the government has failed to decide either they should come under the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs or Ministry of Education. But for the poor the system offers nothing and if some manage to get education they are not provided guidance, career counseling and opportunities to get a job and make a decent living. According to Pakistan Social and Living Measurement (PSLM) Survey (2007-08), the overall literacy rate (age 10 years and above) is 56 per cent (69 per cent for male and 44 per cent for female) in 2007-08 compared to 55 per cent (67 per cent for male and 42 per cent for female) in 2006-07. Out of 2.4 per cent only 1.93 per cent of GNP is being spent on education in real terms and only 11 per cent of the total education budget is allocated for the higher education sector. The total education budget is needed to be increased to a minimum of six per cent as recommended by UNESCO for developing countries with at least one-third of it going to the higher education sector. Its pertinent to mention here, though, 16 major political parties of the country on February 5, 2008 had committed in a Joint Declaration on 'Education For All in Pakistan to increase the present allocation of the education budget from 2.4 per cent to 4 per cent of the GDP within the next three years. But contrary to its claims the Pakistan Peoples Party after coming into power imposed budgetary cuts at all levels of education including primary, secondary and tertiary.