Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders of the world, while emphasising the importance of education said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. He further said: “it is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor and the child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation.”

Education plays an important role in the socio-economic development of a country. Many problems take birth in societies where education is given least importance. In other words, education is the prime mover of all progress whereas illiteracy is the real enemy and obstacle to a country’s development. The importance of education can be judged from the facts that an educated nation always moves in the right direction; whereas an illiterate nation fails to identify even its real issues of society, leave alone the question and methodology regarding their solution. Right from the inception of Pakistan till today, we have paid lip service to the cause of education. Unfortunately, education has never remained a priority agenda by any government of the country.

Our literacy rate is hardly 45% (though officially it is claimed to be 58%); which is quite unsatisfactory to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. It is hard to believe that without development in education, Pakistan would be able to achieve excellence in important fields of society. The solution to all our major social, political, economic and religious problems lies in giving due attention to the aspect of education. Mass illiteracy in Pakistan has given birth to many problems like poverty, unemployment, over-population, beggary, terrorism, religious extremism, sectarianism, drug-addiction, corruption, economic backwardness, feudalism, ethnicity, environmental degradation, etc. Such towering problems can be tackled only with the help of education.

We must not forget that the real and strong defence of any nation lies in equipping it with an ornament of education. The same cannot be achieved by procuring weapons of millions of dollars at the cost of leaving it vulnerable socially. If Pakistan has to progress educationally, then every member of the society has to play its role towards its development. Once the country would achieve a satisfactory level of education, we would certainly be in a position to strengthen ourselves economically, socially and politically. Without a sound education system in Pakistan, development of the country would remain a far cry.

ABDUL SAMAD SAMO,

Karachi.