With only 2.3% of its GDP being spent on education, it is highly unlikely that Pakistan will be able to achieve its goal of providing universal primary education by 2015.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established in 2000 by the United Nations and consisted of eight international development goals, of which goal number 2 pertains to education. All UN member states, including Pakistan, have committed to achieving these goals by 2015.
Goal 2 states that all countries must “ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” However, keeping in mind the state of education in Pakistan, not many think it is possible for Pakistan to achieve this.
According to the “Pakistan Millennium Development Goals Report 2010” by UNDP, the net enrolment at primary level in Pakistan remained below 60% until 2008-2009 after which it has improved marginally over time. However, the completion rate of primary education has decreased drastically over the past few years. Though Pakistan’s literacy rate has improved, it is no where near the 88% required by the MDGs.
According to official statistics by the World Bank, Pakistan’s primary education completion rate is 66.80% which puts it towards the bottom in the world ranking chart.
Furthermore, according to the 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring report, approximately 5.1 million children in Pakistan are out of school, which is the second highest number in the world, 63% of who are girls.
It also states that 36% of Pakistanis have neither completed their primary schooling nor have the skills they would require in order to work.
With less than a 1000 days remaining till the deadline for MDGs, Pakistan needs a complete overhaul of its education system and policies. However, even with a complete change in the education system, it is improbable that Pakistan will be able to cover the shortfall in achieving goal 2. Nevertheless, rather than be deterred by the thought of not being likely to achieve its goals, the government should try to come as close to the achieving the targets as it can.