Source: Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children (Wikimedia Commons/2015)The number of out-of-school children in Pakistan has crossed 23 million, despite claims of provincial governments of reforms in the education sector. In 2017, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department carried out a comprehensive OOSC survey. The data was provided to the education directorate to address OOSC, but a year later, the directorate hasn’t devised a strategy to mitigate OOSC. Enrollment drives remain directionless, not backed by tangible targets. A typical public sector enrollment campaign starts at the provincial level, instructing teachers to ensure maximum enrollment. The directorates of education then collect data for the number of children enrolled, but the data compilation process takes six months. Banners and posters of enrollment campaigns continue to hang in schools as OOSC continue to work in mechanic shops, agriculture fields and garbage collection.To ensure campaigns are targeted toward the enrollment of OOSC, the education departments need to work with other departments, forming inter-departmental coordination committees, to ensure policies are implemented. Strict implementation of child labor laws can also direct OOSC to schools. The Ministry of Human Rights needs to devise laws banning child servants in homes. Introducing technical and vocational training in schools will further attract children. Most OOSC are poor, being the only bread earners of their families. A public-private partnership can increase the enrollment of OOSC, since non-profit organizations and private sectors can sponsor children to can continue school. Alternatively, the private sector can explore job opportunities for the parents of such children.Children between the ages of 10 to 15 can be enrolled in speed learning. Non-governmental organizations have started speed-learning programs in KP and Punjab, but lack of resources and government-ownership has helped only a few thousand children. Teachers’ attendance in the public sector used to be such a problem, but monitoring units in the last five years improved attendance in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A similar model can be piloted by the government to eliminate OOSC. Independent monitoring and implementation units for OOSC will not only identify OOSC but also monitor their school attendance. The units will coordinate with other departments and ministries to ensure associated laws and mechanisms for improving retention rates are in place.UK’s Department for International Development supports the Punjab and KP governments in education reforms. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, The United States Agency for International Development and Germany’s Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit support government enrollment campaigns and have projects in place to support the education sector. Pakistan can seek their support once it establishes a reform strategy.Zia Ur Rehman, a media and communications professional, can be contacted on Twitter @zia051.