Published in The Magazine, Dawn
On Sunday, April 11, 1999

You're driving through a sleepy little town in the rural heartland of the country when you see a croud of people writing frantically on pieces of paper.

What's going on? you ask.

They're solving questions for students taking the math exam inside the hall, someone tells you.

But that's cheating! you exlaim.

As long as they don't get caught, it's O.K. says your informer with a shrug.

You turn to your foreign guest and say, I'm deeply worried about this country.

No, he corrects you, today at least you have some literate people. The time to worry will be ten years from now, when the illiteracy rate will be so high there won't be any people around to solve the paper for those inside the hall.

By Shakir Lakhani