KARACHI - The country has failed to achieve the Net Primary Enrolment (NPE) and other targets pledged in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), State Bank of Pakistan disclosed in its annual report of fiscal year (FY) 2008. The Central Bank said that Pakistan was under obligation to raise Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) at the primary level to 100 per cent by 2015; being signatory to the Millennium Development Goals but country lags behind in targets set by the Millennium Development Declaration. The target of 58 per cent regarding NPE which government pledged to attain by 2005-06, but even 56 per cent could not be achieved in 2006-07, report pointed out. Moreover, the district wise analysis revealed that out of 105 districts, 30 have less than 20 per cent participation rate at the primary level and only 7 have more than 60 per cent participation rate, report disclosed. The low literacy rates, particularly among females and in rural areas and low survival rate to grade 5 still will remain a key challenge for government, report maintains. It adds that the government seems committed to the millennium development goals as it has increased the allocated amount for the pre-primary and primary education in the budget 2008-09. The report further said with more focused efforts by the government, the educational indicators have shown improvement at national level during FY07 compared to FY06 while literacy rate estimated at 55 per cent in FY07 registered one per cent increase over FY06. The gross enrolment rate increased by 4 per cent and reached 91 per cent in FY07. However, net enrolment rate witnessed an increase of 3 per cent and touched 56 per cent in FY07. According to report, the province-wise analysis showed that Punjab maintained first place having highest literacy rate of 58 per cent, gross enrolment rate of 100 per cent and net enrolment rate recorded at 62 per cent. Various initiatives by the provincial government including conditional cash transfer programmes, free textbooks, free uniforms and some of the other incentives offered under the Punjab Education Sector Reforms contributed to the improvement in education indicators of the province. Sindh continues to occupy the second position while NWFP was placed at third position in terms of literacy rate, gross enrolment rate (GER) and NER. Though, Balochistan was ranked lowest in terms of education level, the pace of improvement for all three key indicators for the province was more than the other provinces during 2006-07. The province wise analysis showed that except Punjab, the rest of the provinces depicted a decline in terms of GPI during the period FY06-FY07. Financing structure of education in Pakistan indicates that the government is the biggest investor in the sector. A detailed analysis of public sector expenditure shows that the expenditure in education has registered an overall increase in the last seven years. As a share of GNP, public sector expenditure on education averages around 2 percent during the last seven years with FY05-07 witnessing a sharp increase while during the FY08 the spending on education had been decreased, which reflected in the federal budget of FY09, report said. Meanwhile, an amount of Rs24.6 billion had been earmarked for education in the current federal budget 2008-09 which was 1.22 per cent of the total budget outlay and 4.47 per cent of the total development expenditure in the current budget while it was less than last year's budget allocation for education. Last year an amount of Rs24.28 billion was allocated for education representing 1.24 percent and 5.29 per cent of the total federal budget expenditure and total development expenditure respectively. The government, however, appears committed to ensuring education for all and has plans to raise the total public allocation for education to 3.6 per cent of the GNP by 2010, report concluded.