The nations that stand at the top in knowledge and research prosper. If we look at Pakistan, the most deprived sector here is education. The dual education system has shattered our national identity. Our youth is stricken with a deep inferiority complex due to a lack of education. The curriculum being taught in our educational institutions is ancient, our teachers ill qualified and their methods of teaching obsolete. A teacher is supposed to make a human being out of an illiterate animal by imparting learning and building character. In Pakistan, though, teachers do no such work and are only bothered about earning their livelihood. I have never seen a single teacher in my life that could be called a truly motivated and devoted professional. Only the disgruntled and society-rejects join this profession as a last resort because they fail to find any other 'respectable' job. Education is the first step towards empowerment. If we wish to empower our people, we will have to abolish the dual systems of education. We will have to abolish the primitive madrassas and take the poorer among our students to the mainstream sources of knowledge. We will also have to make the teaching profession paying and productive. Only then can our nation be vibrant prosperous and strong. -SHAHZADI TOOBA HUSSAIN SYED, Rawalpindi, via e-mail, January 22.