Education budget up by just Rs100m

Islamabad, June 12, 2008: Finance Minister Syed Naveed Qamar has termed the Rs24.6 billion earmarked for education sector for the new financial year - just Rs100 million more than last year's - "a very good allocation".

Documents released with the announcement of the federal budget for 2008-09 show that the HEC has not been favoured with even a symbolic increase and its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) funds have been frozen at Rs18 billion.

Presenting the first budget of the PPP-led coalition government in the National Assembly, Naveed Qamar noted that of the total federal PSDP for ministries, the funds allocated to education sector constituted about 10 per cent, adding it was a very good allocation.

The larger expenditure on education and health was borne by provincial governments and federal government basically does a supportive role in these areas, he said.

Under the PSDP, over Rs6.3 billion have been earmarked for the education division while the budgetary allocations for different development programmes initiated by the HEC remained at Rs18 billion like in the outgoing year recording a slight increase of 0.37 per cent compared to the allocations in the outgoing year.

Of the total allocated amount, over Rs24 billion will be met from domestic resources while Rs28 million through foreign assistance.

In the education division, 16 new schemes worth Rs489.3 million out of a total of 90 development programmes have been initiated. Similarly, 33 new programmes have been added for this year in the budgetary allocations meant for the HEC worth Rs534 million.

Significant projects among various schemes under the education division are the establishment of a Federal Government College of Home Economics at Islamabad at a cost of Rs498 million, which will be met by the government through its own resources. This year's allocation for the project is Rs75 million.

All the 15 projects will be borne through its own resources though only one project will be supported with a foreign loan of Rs11.9 million out of a total of Rs19.9 million earmarked for the promotion of Early Childhood Education Association.

A School Nutrition Programme has been added to the list of new projects with a total cost of Rs5.2 billion but this year's allocation would be Rs50 million.

A science and teachers training programme at NISTE (National Institute of Science and Technical Education) has also been proposed with a fund of Rs24 million, while Rs29.8 million have been allocated for the development of camp site at the National Training Centre of Pakistan Girls Guides.

A new cadet college will be established in Multan at a total cost of Rs410 million but this year's allocation for the project is Rs50 million. Cadet colleges will also be set up in Swat, Charsadda, Chitral and Lakki Marwat in NWFP for which Rs50 million each have been earmarked.

Likewise, cadet colleges will also be established in Pishin, Ziarat, Bolan, Gwadar and Shadur in Balochistan for which an initial amount of Rs5 million each have been allocated.

Allocations of Rs50 million each have also been made in the budget for different schemes initiated by HEC namely setting up of a school of science and engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), establishment of a university in Mardan and establishment of an Islamic university at Imam Dheri, Swat.

None of the new project will be supported by the foreign component as all the schemes will be met through local resources.

For infrastructure and capacity enhancement in the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences, Quetta, Rs27.6 million have been allocated out of its total cost of Rs62.8 million.

Similarly, Rs30 million have been allocated out of a total of Rs144.7 million for the construction of a student hostel and residential area at the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences Quetta, Rs21 million out of Rs58 million for the construction of a hostel for 200 female students at the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) Islamabad, and Rs30 million for supporting facilities at Karakoram International University, Gilgit, on the directives of President Pervez Musharraf.

One of the HEC project is to establish Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Campus of Virtual University in Dir Upper Swat with a total cost of Rs35 million. This year's allocation is Rs10 million. Dawn



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