One of the primary elements that make man a league apart from God’s other creations is knowledge. The basis of all knowledge is learning through formal and informal education. The vastness of knowledge available in this universe demands that the process starts from the cradle to the grave and yet it is never complete. Quality education is the backbone of a nation in terms of its financial and emotional health. However, unfortunately one of the most important issues that still remains unattended and needs to be addressed swiftly in Pakistan is its education system which, even after almost seventy years of its inception, remains in shambles with ad hoc education policies followed by all the governments and with the absence of a uniform system of education throughout the country. Presently, there are three parallel streams of education systems prevalent in our country i.e. the elitist having English as their medium of instruction, the public school system catering to the needs of the middle and lower middle class families having Urdu as medium of instruction, and the third is the seminaries or madrassa school system for those who cannot or do not want to finance their children’s education. Sadly, there is serious lack of harmony and integration among all three streams and instead they have a negative interaction with each other and would like to discredit each other’s efforts in imparting education. The nation is already divided in three segments pursuing education in three different directions; yet the hostile relationship between these systems further divides the nation and is providing little or no hope for human resource development in the country. English medium schools are the only go-to choice for the upper and middle class families for the education of their children. Despite the fact that they are running on their own terms and conditions and are charging exorbitantly high fees, our educated class would like to send their children to these schools. There is a big dilemma with these schools. The youth coming out of these schools after secondary level education does not have a very bright chance of getting tertiary level education in this country.Majority of them fall short of merit required for admission in medical andengineering colleges in Pakistan despite being the distinction holders at the Cambridge level. With the result being that they resort to leave the country to seek better opportunities for higher education. However, after spending a good five to six years in the top universities, they are offered high paying jobs abroad and, therefore, are able to resist the urge to come back to their homeland when they see greener pastures in other countries with opportunities for better life. Hence, we lose a good chunk of best of the brains at the very early level of their lives. Presently, three parallel streams exist within our education system. Sadly, there is neither harmony nor integration between them. Rather, all remain distinct, and any interaction that does takes place is overwhelmingly negative in nature The Urdu medium schools are yet another story to be told. All the public schools in Pakistan are imparting education in Urdu medium and the children only find themselves studying English as a subject very late in their secondary level education. However, this renders them incapable of mastering either of the two languages, and English becomes a nightmare for most of the Urdu medium students. Urdu medium schools also promote a system of rote learning which teaches children that memorizing something rather than understanding it is the more feasible and easier solution. The quality of public school facilities, lack of discipline, and untrained teachers in these schools produce a lot of youth who – despite being equally intelligent – are conceptually weaker, ill-disciplined, under-confident and incapable of competing internationally due to their weak language skills. The third stream of education is of the children who are educated at seminaries or madrassa schools. Education in these madrassa schools is imparted with only one perspective i.e. the religious perspective. The youth coming out of these madrassa schools have a very narrow world view and, therefore, are unable to acquire education that is necessary for them to sustain themselves and their families, and make a positive contribution to the economy. One of the main reasons for this sad state of affairs is that education has been given least priority in the budgetary allocations and the policy decisions. With regard to education and how the federal government has completely absolved its responsibility from education as per the 18th amendment, education became a subject controlled by the provincial government. Provinces do not have adequate and uniform infrastructure or resources to handle educational issues; the case in point is Balochistan. In Pakistan, the children who excel most and are the brightest prefer to seek a career in engineering or become a doctor; their secondary options are quite often CSS or joining the armed forces; and once they are unable to seek a career in these fields they pursue a job in other professions such as law, journalism or teaching. Unfortunately, how much a person is respected in our society owes to either how much their job pays, or how much they can evade the law and how capable they are of harming someone. Thus, professions in the fields of law, judiciary, armed forces and police are sought after primarily due to the social status they provide. However, an equal level of importance should be provided to professions in the field of education. Children from English medium schools face a comparative disadvantage in the field of medicine due to there being an unfair system of equivalence. Likewise, children from Urdu medium schools are at a comparative disadvantage when it comes to jobs in the private sector. Another issue is that we, despite having spent sixty nine years developing this nation, have not accepted English in a wholesome manner. English is now a globally spoken language and a medium of communication, thus it should be taught to children. The importance of English is testified by the fact that an economically stable nation and a trading giant such as China is struggling to teach its people English. Thus, Pakistan needs to realize that a separation from English means seclusion and isolation from the rest of the world. Even religious scholars, being some of the most relevant and important people in our society, must also try to accept English as a source of development and prosperity for the nation. One of the most challenging aspects with regards to education is Pakistan’s youth bulge, which is why there is a need to channelize their energy and harness their potential. If this is not done, this – one of Pakistan’s biggest assets – would become Pakistan’s biggest problem. The youth needs to be trained and well educated so they can contribute to the nation’s productivity. They can, as a result, also go abroad and bring in foreign exchange. Almost fifty percent of Pakistan’s population is young, and what better way to provide youth with employment opportunities than to create polytechnic institutes. This will cause a further increase in the availability of jobs in the form of skilled craftsmen and workers. After their basic education, children should also be encouraged to go to polytechnic institutes. The government should provide the nation with more polytechnic institutes, and attach these institutes to industries, so that these children can be adjusted in these industries. Education is one of the basic foundations of nation building. We need to provide a system of education that is free and universal, and the government must make sure that every child who is of school going age goes to school. This will ensure a brighter future for our younger generation and provide them will equal opportunities, so that they are not forced into a specific profession due to a non-uniform system of education or financial issues. Almost seventy years have passed and education remains a primary issue. If Pakistan is to be made into a prospering nation, we must put aside class discrimination and sectarian feuds and decide on, once and for all, a sound education policy. This policy must be decided by national consensus and then be followed religiously, and protected by the Constitution. If we start now, it will take at least an entire generation’s time to transform Pakistan into a nation where the education system is uniform. Published in Daily Times, September 16th 2017.