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Daily Times

Published Date: Dec 15, 2011

SPEAKERS DEMAND INCREASE IN EDUCATION BUDGET BY UPTO 6%

Speakers at a policy forum on ‘Education Financing in Pakistan: Challenges and way forward’ demanded substantial increase in budget allocation for education from current meager figure of 2% to 6% of the fiscal budget.
The forum was held on Wednesday by Actionaid Pakistan in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) to mark 14th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC). Among the participants included parliamentarians, civil bureaucracy, educational experts, academicians and civil society activists.
Jemal Ahmed, Country Director ActionAid Pakistan said that education financing was a key for social development. He stressed for need to ensure accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability of education for all. Education can play an important role in bringing real change in the lives of poor people especially the most marginalized section of the society because it is a basic tool of social and individual empowerment, he added.
Sardar Husain Babak, Minister for Education, KP said there was need for contextualising the issue. Security is the major issue of KP that affects any development programme being undertaken by the government, he said, adding extremists were causing severe damage to education infrastructure.
Tariq Qamar Baloch, Additional Secretary Colleges and Higher and Technical Education Balochistan said that the government had achieved a landmark success by enhancing education budget of Balochistan 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 (spread) and restrained accessibility for all.
Uzma Tahir, Manager Policy, Advocacy and Research, ActionAid Pakistan that there was need to address the issues of mystery of macroeconomics, demystifying the national education budget, tax justice issues and debt servicing and defense budget.
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.