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Education budget 2009-10 up by Rs 7 bn. Mixed response

Allocation for education up by Rs 7 bn
Islamabad, June 15: The federal government has allocated an amount of Rs 31.6 billion for the education sector in the national budget for the year 2009-10 compared to Rs 24.4 billion earmarked in the previous year.

This was stated by Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar while unveiling the national budget in the National Assembly here on Saturday.

She told the Lower House of parliament that an increase of Rs 7 billion had been made in allocation for education this year as compared to the outgoing year. Besides, special allocations have also been made for the promotion of education in the country. Elaborating, she said Rs 10 billion has been earmarked for development schemes in education sector.

In addition, Rs 2 billion each have been earmarked for promotion of education for all, basic education and establishment of community centres in different parts of the country. This means additional allocation of Rs 6 billion for this sector.

Out of the total Rs 31.6 billion for education affairs and services, Rs 2,887 million have been earmarked for pre-primary and primary education affairs services, Rs 3,828 million for secondary education affairs and services, for tertiary education affairs and services Rs 23,372 million, education services non-definable Rs 39 million, subsidiary services to education Rs 32 million, administration Rs 845 million, etc.

Hina Rabbani told the House that for the promotion of higher education in the country, Rs 22.7 billion has been earmarked for the Higher Education Commission.

Besides all these allocations, the government announced Rs151.6 million for social welfare and special education. This brings the total allocations for education to Rs60.3 billion during the year 2009-10.

Compared to the past, the PPP government made reasonably high allocations for education to promote this sector and raise literacy rate.

The government also announced special literacy programmes to be initiated during the current fiscal year. These include introduction of Mobile Literacy Scheme in all the four provinces.

Representatives of different teachers associations, however, termed these allocations very small.

Commenting on the same, Sagheer Alam, President Punjab Teachers Association, termed the allocations for education disappointing.

The government was proposed by our community to increase the GDP-education ration to 4.6 per cent from 2.6 per cent in the current budget. However, this proposal has not been considered. Like defence, the government has to pay special attention to the promotion of education, he added.

Sagheer said recently the World Bank extended a special grant of US$350 for promotion of education in the Punjab and US$250 for Sindh. However, he resented that these foreign grants were not utilised and instead included in the budget.

Mixed response to education budget
Lahore: Educationists, teachers and students have given a mixed response to budgetary allocation for development of the education sector by the federal government for the year 2009-10.

They criticised the government and termed the allocation for education meagre. On the other hand, many vice-chancellors welcomed the increased budget for higher education. A sum of Rs 32 billions has been allocated for education with Rs 22.5 billions for higher education alone.

The VCs of the University of Engineering and Technology, the Punjab University and the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) welcomed the allocation for the Higher Education Commission terming it a positive step towards development of public sector universities. They, however, expressed concerns about any future possible cuts, saying the universities suffered a lot during last fiscal year owing to the cuts by the government.

UET Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Akram Khan said the increase was a positive sign and necessary for ensuring development plans of the universities. He said because of increase in budget, the universities would be able to send more teachers for higher studies abroad.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran said owing to depreciation of Pakistani currency, the prices of scientific equipments had increased, therefore, there was a need of increasing the budget for higher education. Welcoming the budget for HEC, he said: "It will be good provided no cut is imposed later like previous year."

UVAS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz said universities had made tremendous progress over the years only because of the HEC and funds were basic requirement for the progress. He said the increase in allocation would help increase education standard.

Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association President Nazim Hasnain termed the budget 2009-10 a disappointment, saying college teachers had been ignored as colleges did not fall in ambit of the HEC.

He said unitisation of funds was also a challenge claiming main part of the allocation was not used on productive side. He criticized the government for giving grants to private sector educational institutions, especially universities. Azhar, a student, said students who wanted to avail scholarships had to suffer a lot during the last fiscal year owing to funds shortage.

"It is hope this will not happen again," he said adding: "The government should release all the funds unlike the previous year."


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FGEI website launched
Rawalpindi: The Federal Government Educational Institutions Cantonment & Garrison (FGEICG) has launched a website to help facilitate the public, providing complete information regarding admissions, recruitment and statistics about the schools and staff.

The website address is www.fgei-cg.gov.pk, which provides complete information about 350 FG schools and colleges set up throughout the 43 cantonments and garrisons of the country, besides other information, admission and recruitment forms can also be down loaded and obtained through this website.

A formal launching ceremony was held at the Directorate General of the Federal Government Educational Institutions Cantonment & Garrison here.

Federal Government Educational Institutions Cantonment & Garrison Director General Brigadier Mohammad Asif was the chief guest on the occasion.


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Police baton-charge AMC students
Abbottabad: Police Saturday resorted to baton-charge on the premises of Ayub Medical Complex when dozens of students of Ayub Medical College scuffled with two salesmen of a pharmacy shop. A number of students were injured in the clash with two employees of the pharmacy shop identified as Saifullah and Faisal and the ensuing baton charge by police. The students alleged the pharmacy shop staff misbehaved with a girl student of the college but according to the medicine storeowner the brawl started when the students refused to pay for medicines. Meanwhile, the college administration constituted committee to probe the case.


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Expelled SU Pakhtun students seek migration
Peshawar: Pakhtun students of the Sindh University, Jamshoro, on Saturday said they had been expelled from the varsity due to the pressure of nationalists and demanded of the government to arrange their migration to some other universities in the country.

Addressing a press conference here, the students, led by Aqeel Khan, said they had been expelled from the varsity because of their Pakhtun nationality."We were told that the Sindh University was for the Sindhis and no-one other than the Sindhis would be allowed to have education facility there," they said, adding that they were even restrained from appearing in the examination.

They said three of their colleagues were severely tortured while they were asleep in hostel on May 21 at 2:00 am. The aggressors, they added, not only tortured their colleagues but also snatched documents, computers, cell-phones and Rs 20,000 from them."They also warned us to leave the university latest by May 28."


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Training for IT students starts from 20th
Islamabad: The Skill Development Council (SDC) has introduced a new training programme 'Home IT Business' from June 20.

The 16-hour training programme is aimed at paving the way for students, mid career professionals and unemployed to start their own IT outsourcing business for world market at a low cost and reduction of poverty and unemployment in the country.

Females especially housewives are encouraged to join, as it will enable them to start their ventures from their home and utilise their specialisation for economic betterment of the family. IT graduates (fresh or experienced), students and mid career professionals, who want to capture online business inquires posted on various outsourcing portals can benefit from it.

The course will consist of four sessions of four hours each on weekends in two weeks. The registration is open till 19th of the month. The details are also available on the website of council. The News


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