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Rights activists admire allocation of education budget in KP.

PESHAWAR -- Education Rights Activists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in a press conference admired the landmark allocation of education budget in KP and equity policy according to which 70% of the development budget will be directed towards improving girl's education.

According to the available figures, the KP government has earmarked

Rs30,166.72 million for education sector development budget for FY 2019-20, which is much higher than Rs23,254.75 million allocated last year.

According to the document of budget break up 6 points agenda has been introduced, which includes improvements in primary schools, finishing accessibility gaps up till secondary schools, providing quality education through Public-Private partnership, improvement of education management at grassroots level, involving parents so as to receive information regarding schools and quality of education.

The new plans also included starting of evening shift in different districts of other provinces as well for which Rs1.32 billion has been proposed as development funds.

Records also show that for improving the performance of the education sector, 3000 positions of ASDEO will be announced whereas Rs9.65 billion have been allocated once more for making 100% sure to provide all of schools of the province with all the 4 basic facilities.

According to a survey conducted in 2018 by KPESE large number of schools in KP are deprived of basic facilities. Up till now 135 schools have been standardized in the province whereas in the upcoming financial year further for the standardization of 265 higher secondary schools, there is a proposal of allocation of more than Rs2 billion.

The education right activists expressed concern that the increase in volume has not enhanced the percentage share of education sector in overall development budget, which stands at 9.5 percent for FY 2019-20 and was 13 percent last year.

The education sector percentage share in overall development budget hovered between 10% and 26 percent since 2012-13; hence, the proposed allocation for FY 2019-20 has larger volume than last two years, but is lowest in terms of percentage share of total development budget since 2012-13.

The statement further said according to CPDI a review of budget data of last seven years reveals that the education sector development allocations have seen many ups and downs. For instance, the allocation of Rs34,411.66 million in 2013-14 was the highest, but was lowered in revised estimates of same year. Similarly,

Rs30,551.17 million (higher than the proposed budget for 2019-20) was earmarked in revised budget of year 2014-15.

Qamar Naseem program coordinator Blue Veins said, 'More finance alone will not result in improvement towards girl's education. The task is not just to spend more, but to use data to spend on what improves learning, in a more targeted and equitable way. We need the data to identify needs; a fair formula which is used to allocate resources based on need; and the data that tracks the progress in learning and school completion for disadvantaged groups, so closing the gaps to make the system fairer can be managed'.

Zeenat Muhib Kakakhel said, 'To help lessen the woes of education sector, effective spending of funds is the need of the day. Only a stringent system of funds allocation and monitoring cannot fix everything. The oft-repeated promises of increased allocation of funds can be fulfilled by the government this year. This will be a quantum leap forward in education sector and if it's used efficiently, the result will put our country on the right track'.

Sana Gulzar, advocate and chairperson Chaperchal said that: 'The goals of many budget programs are oriented on the process rather than on the achievement of a result. The programs sometimes have very different goals. It is important to attempt to define one strategic goal for each program, which defines the expected result from the program financing. The tasks should clearly define activities, which are directed towards ensuring the achievement of strategic goal of the program'.

Zertashia Jamal said:' The recent developments in education sector in KP reflects that the government recognizes that education reform is desperately needed and promises to make this a priority, especially for girls but recent history suggests that provinces tend to under spend on development and non-salary budgets, but overspend on salaries, so that they end up utilizing most of the education budget'.

Taimur Kamal a rights activist said' The promise of early childhood Education CE can only be realized if universal access to quality ECE is given.

This is especially important in a country like Pakistan, where net enrollment ratios are 77% at primary school, 49% at middle school and 31% at high school; one out of three children don't reach Grade 5; and those that remain in school are barely learning.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 30, 2019
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