Published Date: Dec 16, 2011
CALL TO INCREASE EDUCATION ALLOCATION BY 6%
Education can play an important role in bringing real change in the lives of poor people, especially the most marginalized sections of the society because it is a basic tool of social and individual empowerment.
ActionAid Pakistan’s Country Director Jemal Ahmed stated this at a Policy Forum on ‘“Education financing in Pakistan: challenges and way forward” organised by ActionAid Pakistan in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
Jemal said that education financing was a key for social development. He stressed the need to ensure accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability of education for all. He demanded substantial increase in budget allocation for education from current figure of 2% to 6% of the budget.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Minister for Education Sardar Husain Babak said that there was need for contextualising the issue. He said that security is the major issue of KPK that affects any development programme being undertaken by the government He said that extremists were causing severe damage to education infrastructure. He provided a recent example when four schools were blown by terrorists in a row.
Additional Secretary Colleges and Higher and Technical Education, Balochistan, Tariq Qamar Baloch, said that the government had achieved a landmark success by enhancing education budget of the province to 11% of the fiscal budget. However, he acknowledged that problems for promotion of quality education were innumerable ranging from capacity issues, security and stability crisis, geographical vastness and restrained accessibility for all. He said that in service teacher training programme initiated by Balochistan government was innovative as well as effective.
Dr Slaman Hamayon said the resource allocation for education at national as well as provincial level had always been very scarce. It resulted in high administrative cost that reflected a bad mark on quality of education. He was of the view that merely 5% students were performing well whereas remaining 95% students were under-performing in both academic and practical fields of life.
Uzma Tahir from ActionAid said that there was need to address the issues of mystery of macroeconomics, demystifying the national education budget, tax justice issues and debt servicing and defence budget. There are various challenges which need to be addressed including lack of political will, user fees, reaching all children especially girls, quality teachers for quality education, adult literacy and early childhood education. She stressed that development and education goals should be at the centre of all the economic planning and that there should be progressive taxation policies for long-term investment on education.
Mukhtar Ahmed, Chief of Party FAFEN stressed for the need to comply with article 25A of the constitution which binds the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children of 5 to 16 years of age. He said that since and efficient efforts were required to implement the law. Then there is dire need to mobilize the available resources for promotion of education, he concluded.