Victor Hugo once said that he who opens a school door, closes a prison. Rephrasing it according to our current situation would be, he who opens a parliament door, closes a prison for himself and a school door for the nation. The average GDP spending of most countries is 4.9 % (where as the highest is 13.9% GDP of Cuba). Clearly, we are far behind. Scraping the bottom of the barrel at 2%, Pakistans GDP compares poorly with that of other countries of South Asia. Education is the most important sector in any country. The performance of any country can be assessed by the literacy rate of that country. And no wonder performance of our country is so poor, with the average literacy rate being 57%. The low standards of education are blamed on the poor quality of our educational environment and educational institutions. According to estimates, large number of schools lack basic infrastructure - 37.7% of the schools up to the elementary level dont have boundary walls, 33.9% lack drinking water facility, 37% dont have washrooms and 60% are without electricity. Despite such conditions, the indifferent attitude of the government has further deteriorated the scenario. The Government has refused to supply funds to the government education sector claiming that the higher education funds were diverted to flood relief and rehabilitation. It has been said by officials that the severe floods have been used as an excuse by the government to cut back on higher education and that the governments decision to reduce grants and not to pay additional funds for increased salaries for academics had been made long before the floods. After several protests by teachers, the government agreed on Thursday to immediately release funds for a 65% increase in the salary of university teachers. In 2009-10, however, Rs 8 billion provided by the World Bank would have allowed the government to allocate Rs22.5 billion to the higher education sector. Only 60% of the amount has so far been released, says the survey. However, education requires resources to function well and the sooner the government realizes its responsibilities, the better it is. Or the sooner we realize our responsibility as citizens to consider every angle before we vote, the more school doors we will help to open and keep open for generations to come. A nation to succeed requires not only a healthy body but a healthy mind and that is achieved by Education. ASMA HANIF, Karachi, October 19.