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Does budget matter in education
By: Junaid Zahid

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” –Benjamin Franklin

Over the past few years, governors, policymakers and other elected officials are having to cut education spending due to immense budget deficits. In Pakistan, Balochistan comprises 44 percent of land and only five percent of the total population. The indicators including weak development, low literacy rate and huge poverty level differentiate Balochistan from the other provinces. The government has been struggling for the last six years to endorse education but it still stands behind other provinces.

The educational system in Balochistan is categorised by low primary school enrolment, lack of access to secondary education, a shortage of middle and secondary schools, inadequate access to female education, high dropouts and high gender disparity. The transition rate from primary to middle levels is only 23 percent.

The aggregate projected budget of Balochistan is Rs198.395 billion, including 23.22 percent expressively for education

The aggregate projected budget of Balochistan is Rs198.395 billion, including 23.22 percent expressively for education. An amount of Rs5 billion has been distributed for the establishment of the Balochistan Education Fund, majority of which will be for infrastructure development. In addition, Rs324.884 million has been allocated for the establishment of facilities to schools and colleges. Rs400 million has been budgeted for furniture and scientific tools, Rs750 million for renovation of schools and Rs500 million for the Chief Minister Endowment Fund. The budget also allocated Rs750 million for the up gradation of 200 primary schools to middle schools, and Rs425 million for upgrading 50 middle schools to high schools. Moreover, that the education budget for fiscal year 2014-15 is 16 percent more than last year’s budget.

Budget against education in Balochistan

Serious challenges are faced by Balochistan in the areas of access to primary education to its population. Slow growth in enrolments, low survival and transition rates from one class to another and high gender disparity mean a large number of children are out of school. The drift shows that budget for education of Balochistan in 2014 was decreased from Rs23.9 million to Rs22.4 million but education score, enrolment score, achievement score and survival score improved whereas we can observe a minor decrease in gender parity as compared to 2013. Therefore, we can say that the budget is not a big factor in improving education in a region like Balochistan. However, its management and circulation is significant for progress.

Budget against education in KPK

The graph shows that KPK Budget was increased to Rs42 million in 2014 from Rs12.3 million in 2013 and it can be observed that overall education score slightly dropped.

Serious challenges are faced by Balochistan in the areas of access to primary education to its population

Does money matter in education?

On average, aggregate measures of per-pupil spending are positively allied with upgraded student outcomes. The schooling resources which cost money, including class size reduction or higher teacher salaries, are positively related with student outcomes. Continued improvements to the level and distribution of budgets across local public school districts can lead to progresses in the level and distribution of student outcomes. Money alone may not be the answer, more equitable and adequate allocation of financial inputs to schooling provides a necessary underlying condition for improving the equity and adequacy of outcomes. Therefore, increase or decrease in budget have no effect in educational system but must be spent wisely to yield benefits.

The Balochistan government should improve its governance and quality of service delivery, predominantly in the education sector. Monitoring and evaluating the quality of education and gender equality must be an integral part of overall strategy of provincial education sector. Gender participation should be enhanced by providing for girl’s education and female teachers may be employed for primary schools. Manifold approaches of service delivery such as community supported schools, public private partnerships and evening classes for school education in existing buildings may be started at those places where education facilities are not accessible. Provincial budget allocation for education, principally for development, may possibly be improved and a feasible strategy should be developed for viable support from donors to progress.

Source:http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/05/16/comment/does-budget-matter-in-education/

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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.