‘Triple education budget’


Speakers at a seminar, held on Wednesday, demanded that the budget allocated to education be increased from 2 percent to 6 percent of the fiscal budget. The seminar, ‘Education Financing in Pakistan: Challenges and the Way Forward’ was organised by ActionAid Pakistan in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute to mark the 14th Sustainable Development Conference. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Education Sardar Hussain Babak said: “There is a need for contextualising the issue. Security is the major issue of KPK that affects the developmental programmes undertaken by the government. “Extremists are causing severe damage to the educational infrastructure,” he added, citing a recent incident where four schools were blown up by terrorists.
AcitionAid Pakistan Country Director Jemal Ahmed said education financing was the key to social development. He stressed the need to ensure accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability of education for all. “Education can play an important role in changing the lives of poor people especially the most marginalised section of the society because it is a basic tool of social and individual empowerment,” he said. Balochistan Colleges and Higher and Technical Education Additional Secretary Tariq Qamar said the government had been successful by increasing the education budget of Balochistan to 11 percent of the fiscal budget, but issues persisted.
He said: “Educational problems are innumerable and range from capacity issues, security and stability crises, geographical vastness and restrained accessibility for all.” The education experts said resource allocation for education at national and provincial levels had always been scarce. They said only 5 percent of students were performing well whereas the remaining 95 percent of students were underperforming in both academic and practical fields. The participants of the seminar included parliamentarians, members of the civil bureaucracy, educational experts, academicians and civil society activists.