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Utilisation of education budget still a big issue

By A Reporter 2015-02-18
ISLAMABAD: Though on the persistent public demand, the provinces have increased their education budget, there is a need for the proper utilisation of the funds.

In the fiscal year 2013-14, a major chunk of the allotted budget remained unspent.

This was stated in a report, `Public financing of education in Pakistan` compiled by the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) in collaboration with Alif Ailaan, which was launched here on Tuesday.

The report said Sindh could spend only 47 per cent of the non-salary and 37 per cent of the development budget during 2013-14.

Khyber Pakhtunkwa, on the other hand, spent only 59 per cent of the non-salary budget and 50 per cent of the development budget.

Balochistan could not spend 27 per cent of the non-salary and 48 per cent of the development budget. However, Punjab remained on the top in terms of the budget utilisation as it spent 83 per cent of its non-salary budget and 89 per cent of the development budget.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Mohammad Balighur Rehman said the report gave a snapshot to the government on the education data and evidence-based findings which can help in developing a proper system.

He also told the gathering that 35 per cent of primary schools in the country were without the toilets.

He, however, said the net enrollment rate inprimary education had increased to the highest ever percentage. The number of out-ofschool children has also decreased in the last few years, he claimed.

Dr Salman Humayun, the executive director I-SAPS, said while the growth of education financing was good news it needed to be linked with the performance of the education system.

As a major chunk of the education budget is eaten up by salaries, a significant portion of the development budget remained unspent.

Ahmed Ali, research fellow at I-SAPS, said despite the resources being allocated, the quality of education lagged behind. He said three provinces Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan made legislation for free compulsory education. However, Punjab, Balochistan and Islamabad are yet to form the rule of business for the proper implementation of Article 25-A of the constitution, which guarantees free and compulsory education to all children of five to sixteen years of age. He said KP had so far failed to pass the legislation in this regard.

Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, the chairman of the standing committee on education Sindh, said there were structural problems in the system. Mr Jonejo said there were around 20,000 schools which were being run without toilets in Sindh while 23,000 schools had no clean drinking water and electricity.

Nasrullah Khan Zayrai, education adviser to the chief minister Balochistan, said the provincial government had launched new campaigns to enroll all out-of-school children. He added that new rules under Article 25-A were also being implemente d.