FOR all the loud noises that one heard from the PML(Q) government in the province about 'parha likha Punjab', the reality beckons towards a miserable condition of the infrastructure at a large number of schools, which would seriously hinder the realisation of this laudable goal. A survey of 63,000 schools, primary, middle and higher secondary, conducted by the UNICEF with the help of Education Department officials, reveals that at least 20,000 of them are without the provision of water and even where there does exist this basic facility, it is of poor and harmful quality. Hand pumps installed in over 16,000 schools are defective. The report rightly recommends that WASA should replace its water pipes, and the provision of bottles to the students to bring boiled water from home. The temptation of hard cash and free supply of books to primary school students that the previous government gave, must have prompted certain parents to have their wards enrolled. A large number of children from poor families are either employed in factories, workshops and doing household chores for the well-off section of society, or are seen begging on the streets. The incentive of free books and money was a good step, but preceding that, reasonably good and functioning infrastructure ought to have been provided at the schools. Absence or poor quality of water at a place where the children have to spend long hours, would cause various diseases and harm the cause of education. It now falls on the present government to do the job. It is not only a question of water but also a host of other basic needs of the students that remain unfulfilled. Overcrowded classes, at times without a roof overhead, shortage of any teachers, let alone qualified, uncomfortable seating arrangements, inadequate facilities to keep off the effects of extreme weather conditions and lack of playgrounds, are some of the other failings commonly seen in government schools. Neglecting this aspect of education would prove counterproductive.