Youth neglected in budget
Islamabad, June 07: Despite constituting more than 50 per cent of the population, youth once again remained a highly neglected segment of the population as no new project was announced for them for the fiscal year 2010-11.
The only project mentioned in the budgetary speech was the on-going National Internship Programme (NIP). Federal Minister for Finance Abdul Hafiz Shiekh said Rs3.6 billion have been allocated for the programme for next fiscal year. He said that more than 27,000 youth benefited from the programme in the year 2009-10. However, according to budgetary details, the government has allocated Rs1.845 billion for NIP for upcoming fiscal year. The allocation for the year 2009-10 was Rs3.615 for the year 2009-10 whereas the revised estimate for the program was Rs1.91 billion.
The minister may be right in terming unemployment the biggest issue of youth, but there is a need to reconsider the nation that NIP or one year training in public sector can offer a solution to this huge problem that is resulting in extreme frustration among youth. It is encouraging that considerable amount is released every year for the project, but weak monitoring and evaluation of the project leaves a big question mark on the impact, the government expects from the project.
On the other hand, the ministry also lacks capacity to manage the project that was previously handled by Establishment Division. Ministry officials said that against their demand of creating at least 70 more posts for monitoring and evaluation, the government has approved 50 posts and hiring will start soon.
They admitted that lack of staff at federal level and no staff at provincial level has resulted in the waste of finances at many places. Comparing the extent of unemployment problem and its horrific impact in the form of extremism, the NIP seems a halfhearted attempt to solve this grave problem.
Meanwhile, contrary to the frequent statements issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) about the new projects it plans to launch for the implementation of National Youth Policy, the budget offers not a single penny for the ministry in the name of any new initiative. The budget statement shows only Rs74 million has been allocated for the Ministry of Youth Affairs for only on going projects that include Mobile Youth Computer Literacy Awareness Programme (Rs15.639 million), construction of Youth Development Centres in Karachi, Sukkur, Gawadar and Gilgit (Rs46.537 million), and establishment of Planning and Monitoring Cell (Rs12.347 million). The allocation clearly indicates that the ministry will keep on planning the implementation of youth policy for another year, as nothing has been allocated for the new projects in the pipeline such as Youth Activity Centres and the technical education of youth.
Education gets chicken feed
Islamabad: An amount of Rs34,500 million has been earmarked for the education affairs and services in the federal budget.
According to the budget figures, a sum of Rs3,174 million has been allocated for pre-primary and primary education against the amount of Rs2,887 million spent last year. The amount of Rs4,232 million have been allocated for the secondary education affairs and services against Rs3,828 million earmarked last year.
A sum of Rs25,210 million has been given for tertiary education affairs and services as compared to Rs23,372 million during the outgoing fiscal year. A sum of Rs42 million has been allocated for social welfare and special education division against Rs39 million spent last year. For the administrative purposes, about Rs1,260 million has been allocated against Rs808 million spent last year.
Education sector witnesses decrease in allocation
Islamabad: With continues decrease in the budget allocation for education sector over the past few years, the ministry still hoping to provide formal and informal education facilities to the general public for which it has been allocated Rs9,387,022 million in the Budget 2010-11 and plans to increase it up to Rs 9,941,570 million by 2012-13.
According to a document 'Federal Medium Term Budget Estimates for Service Delivery' 2010-13, the recurring budget of the Ministry of Education was Rs3,338.537 million during 2008-09 and Rs3,718.665 million during 2009-10 with an increase of 11.38 per cent over 2008-09. The original development budget of the ministry during the financial year 2008-09 was Rs6,269.652 million which was curtailed to Rs4,186 million against which actual released by the Finance Division was Rs2,546 million. However, the development budget allocation during the current financial year 2009-10 was Rs8,097.613 million.
The actual expenditure (preliminary) for 2008-09 for the provision of formal/informal education facilities to the general public was Rs10,964,413 million while the original budget for 2009-10 was Rs11,816,278 million which has been reduced considerably in the fiscal year 2010-11.
The future policy priorities as mentioned by the budgetary document are to ensure the access and equality in education, improve governance and management in education and improve quality and relevance in education.
An amount of Rs866,967 million has been allocated in the current fiscal year for the administration support which is planned to be increased up to Rs885,786 million during 2011-12 and Rs964,043 million in 2012-13.
International coordination for education (contribution to UN agencies and ISESCO etc.) received an allocation of Rs213,830 million in the current budget which is likely to be increased up to Rs214,745 million in 2011-12 and Rs250,239 in 2012-13.
The school and colleges education services and support to receive Rs4,302,531 million during the fiscal year 2012-13 while the current allocation for this sector is Rs4,259,130 million. It is worth mentioning here that the sector was receiving Rs5,609,519 million during the fiscal year 2008-09.
The technical and professional education services received an allocation of Rs620,679 million in the current fiscal year which is planned to be decreased up to Rs534,577 million in the fiscal year 2012-13. The non-formal education services for which an allocation of Rs247,381 million has been made would receive Rs79,336 million in 2012-13.
An allocation of Rs251,425 million has been made in the newly announced budget for the educational awareness, enhancement including madrassah reforms, museum, boy scouts, girls guides, Pakistan Academy of Letters, literacy campaigning services, awards to books, writers and teachers. The allocation for this sector is planned to be increased up to Rs278,369 million by the fiscal year 2011-12 and up to Rs283,109 million by the fiscal year 2012-13.
For the education policy and curriculum development services, an amount of Rs894,368 million has been allocated for the fiscal year 2010-11, which is planned to be increased up to Rs1,147,550 million till the fiscal year 2012-13.
Similarly, allocation of Rs1,921,828 for the fiscal year 2010-11 has been made for the training and capacity building services which is likely to be increased up to Rs2,235,679 till the fiscal year 2012-13.
Student service being improved, says AIOU VC
Islamabad: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is focusing on improvement in its student service as well as training of teachers.
"The improvement in student service and training of teachers are our top priorities," said AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr. Nazir A. Sangi.
About student service, Dr. Sangi said that he had ordered the concerned staff to further streamline the admission process. "We will also strengthen student counselling and further activate our regional offices," he added.
In this connection, he said that he had talked to PTCL officials to create email accounts of all enrolled students to strengthen student counselling.
The vice chancellor further said that he believes in human resource development, particularly when it comes to young people with special reference to those residing in far-flung and rural areas. "We will provide education to young people, which is area-specific and based on self-employment," he said.
He pointed out that the human resource development would prevent young people from indulging in unnecessary, illegal and immoral activities, making them responsible part of a health society to contribute to progress and welfare of the country.
In this connection, he referred to a case of Umerkot, Sindh, saying that he was the first head of any university to visit that far-flung area with the purpose of saving its human resource. "We will also identify other such areas of the country where young people will be provided area-specific education, whether it relates to agriculture or textile," he said.
To a question, he said, the university management was also in contact with international universities to start advanced and higher education programmes online.
Besides this, the AIOU is also a part of consortium, which comprises six international and a national university, to share experience and expertise of the faculty.
He informed that currently 500,000 students, hailing from central, upper and southern Punjab, are enrolled in the university.
City School organises food festival
Rawalpindi: The City School organised an activity week on the theme of 'Sharing is Caring' at the end of the term.
Parents were asked to donate books, toys or clothes to support the children of SOS Village. To make this activity more interesting, the school organised 'International Food Festival' in which foods of different countries were prepared and sold by students and teachers. The money thus generated will be donated to the children of SOS Village.
Teachers with the help of students prepared different food items and arranged different dishes according to the allotted country of that particular day. Children were given training to perform as waiters to bring and deliver orders.
The festival continued for four days in which culinary delights of China, Pakistan, India and Italy were prepared and sold. Both teachers and students dressed up in traditional dresses of their allotted countries.
There were also a few dance performances and small speeches by children. Children welcomed the parents in the language of the representative country.
On Pakistan and India food days, children were dressed up in national dresses of the respective countries and made small speeches for peace in the region.
On Chinese Food Day, children gave a performance on a Chinese song and showed their love for the country. The news