There was a time when government schools were much better than private ones. Often, the students topping Matric exams were from government schools. It was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who struck the death blow by nationalizing schools and colleges in 1972. Since then, the quality of teaching deteriorated so much that I have not met an educated middle-aged person in a long time.

Let's be clear about one thing: an educated person is not one who has a bachelor's degree. I know many graduates who have not read a book after getting their degree. Some of them don't even read newspapers. Their knowledge consists of what they hear from others (usually in mosques). Most of them are involved in earning as much money as they can, so they don't have time to read.

Nowadays, private schools are very expensive. My grandchildren go to schools and colleges where the fee is Rs. 75,000 per month. I went to a school where the monthly fee was Rs. 10 (equivalent to two thousand rupees today). This, mind you, was a school where many generals and politicians got their education. One of them was a president of the country (Musharraf), another was a prime minister (Shaukat Aziz), a third was the Indian leader Advani. The teachers were dedicated, the priests who ran the school were strict disciplinarians (I still remember the pain from the beatings I got).

So what do these expensive schools have that government and cheaper schools don't? Perhaps people think that their children will form friendships with children of wealthy parents and this will help them later in life. It's a pity that no political party leader gives importance to this issue.