Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the target of 100 per cent enrollment of the children in school will be achieved by 2018. It should not come as a surprise then, that the same promise was made in April 2014, stating that the target of 100 per cent enrolment will be achieved by 2016; a promise that remains largely unfulfilled.

Pakistan has become a complacent nation that is used to missing targets. We have become accustomed to the lack of commitment displayed time and time again by the leadership. In a report by Alif Ailan on the state of education in Pakistan from last year, it was specified that 47.3 per cent – that is 25 million children aged between 5 to 16- remain out of school.

The net enrolment rate at the moment is 57 percent at the primary level and an alarming 22 percent at the middle school level. Where it is considered favorable to set ambitious targets, increasing the enrolment rate by 50% in a year and a half is an almost impossible feat. Perhaps what the Chief minister seems to be overlooking is that the enrolment rate should not be the only indicator of an educated society. Pakistan has one of the highest dropout rates in the world where 46 percent of the children dropout before finishing primary school. Addressing this particular issue is integral in achieving targets on education. Enrollment simply is not enough.

In every high level meeting on the education agenda, the PML-N government counts the billions of rupees spent on education, but where is the money going? How efficiently is it being utilized? The data obtained so far paints an abysmal picture. No matter how much money is poured into a particular sector, unless there is political will, no goal can be achieved.