Education budget has exposed govt: analysts
Karachi, June 2008: Academicians on Friday expressed their grave concern over the
allocation of inadequate budget for education sector in the new fiscal year and
said that insufficient budget for higher education sector has exposed the
priorities of the federal government as it has earmarked Rs 24.6 billion for
this sector in the federal budget for 2008-09, which is just Rs100 million more
than last year's.
They said that the trained human resource and development
in education and science & technology sectors only could alleviate the
poverty, while the issuance of Rs 1,000 to underprivileged people on account of
income support allowance is useless in context of alleviating poverty in the
The Higher Education Commission was not given an emblematic
increase, as only Rs 15 billion has been allocated for this sector; in this
situation public universities may suffer shortage of funds even in term of
providing salaries to their staff.
Karachi University Teachers Society
General Secretary Prof Dr Abid Hasnain has termed the current education budget
disappointing for the academicians, and said that Rs100 million increase in
education budget was nothing but optical illusion. He pointed out, "The
government has increased salaries of government employees by 20 per cent;
because Rs 100 million will definitely be used in salaries of the employees,
which has been increased by 20 per cent.
There is no doubt about that the
current budget has been decreased than the last budget, which shows that
education is not in our priority. Talking about the budget for higher education
sector, he said that the budget for higher education has shown that the
government was not sincere with promotion of higher education sector.
said, "No government had paid much attention to the higher education sector in
the country during 60 years as higher education has been promoted in the last
I am not agreed with the polices of the Higher Education
Commission (HEC) hundred per cent, but the HEC under the leadership of Prof Dr
Attaur Reahman has done great job in providing huge funds to public universities
on account of development programmes."
It is pertinent to mention here that
the higher education sector of country has been threatened by the new policies
of the current government as nearly 59 public sector universities are suffering
with monetary chomp due to the refusal of the federal finance ministry to
release the Higher Education Commission's fourth quarterly instalment of
development and recurring grant worth over Rs 8 billion for 2007-08.
Faculty of Science, Karachi University, Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi stressed the
need for issuance of special funds for universities, and said that as prices of
everything are going up on daily-basis, there was an urgent need to increase
budget for education and science and technology sectors. Sindh Professors and
Lecturers Association (SPLA) Central President Prof Syed Riaz Ahsan said that
the budget could not be termed education friendly, which the budget has
discouraged the teachers' community, as the government did not consider the
proposal of SPLA, present to the government, demanding hundred percent increase
in the salaries of the teachers and their up-gradation in line with universities
A senior professor at Karachi University, on condition of
anonymity, said, "Usually democratic governments do not give priority to sectors
of education and science and technology in the country.
However, national political parties make democratic governments, and
unfortunately our political parties in short of aware, visionary and devoted
leadership. He said we could not expect any positive step towards progress and
prosperity from feudal-like politicians.
"Public universities will suffer
with the policies of the government; such insufficient budget for higher
education will damage research and education environment of the public
universities. Under the PSDP, over Rs6.3 billion have been allocated for the
education division while the budgetary allocations for different development
programmes initiated by the HEC remained at Rs18 billion.
students, willing to go abroad for their higher education have been disappointed
with government policies towards higher education sector, he said.
By SYED JAFAR ASKARI (The Nation)
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