Pakistan’s Education Sector Needs More Allocation in Development Program

By Syed Marwan Shah

ISLAMABAD, June 22 (INP-WealthPK): The federal and provincial governments in Pakistan must enhance allocations for the education sector under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) to enhance the skillset, research and development, and innovation capabilities of the youth, as education holds the key to achieving high and sustainable economic growth.

In Pakistan, the governments in the centre and provinces have achieved remarkable success in enhancing literacy rates. Based on the Labour Force Survey, 2020-21, the literacy rate trend was 62.8% 2020-21, compared to 62.4% in 2018-19, with more males becoming literate (73.4%) than females (51.9%). In addition, the rural literacy rate increased from 53.7% to 54.1%, while the urban literacy rate grew from 76.1% to 77.3%.

According to the study, the gender gap in literacy rates appears to be narrowing over time. The literacy rate increased in every province, including Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan from 66.1 to 66.3%, 61.6 to 61.8%, 52.4 to 55.1%, and 53.9 to 54.5%, the survey noted.

Under the PSDP 2022, Rs9.7 billion has been allocated for the development of 24 ongoing and four new projects of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. In addition, Rs2.8 billion was also allocated for six ongoing and three new education-related projects initiated by the Ministries of Finance, Defence, Housing and Works, Kashmir Affairs, and Gilgit-Baltistan, the Economic Survey of Pakistan indicated.

In contrast to last year, the PSDP 2020-21 allocated Rs4.5 billion for 22 ongoing and six new development projects of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. The Finance, Defence, Housing and Works, and Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Division had allocated Rs1.2 billion each for education-related development projects.

The government has allocated Rs65 billion for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the current budget. Additionally, an allocation of Rs4 billion has been made for the development of HEC under the PSDP, which is 67% higher than the previous financial year, stated Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail during the budget session at the National Assembly.

According to provincial annual development programmes (ADPs) FY 2022, the Government of Punjab allocated Rs54.3 billion for 110 ongoing and 405 upcoming education projects. In the previous year, the allocation was Rs34.6 billion for 110 ongoing and 29 new development projects in the education sector.

The Government of Sindh has provided Rs30.3 billion for 225 ongoing and 283 new development projects in the education sector. Of this, 18.3 billion was allocated for school education, Rs4 billion for college education, Rs0.8 billion for the empowerment of differently-abled students, Rs1.2 billion for Sindh TEVTA (Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority), and Rs6 billion for universities and boards. As compared to the previous year, the Sindh government has allocated Rs23.4 billion for 399 ongoing and 11 new development projects in the education sector.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Rs24.6 billion has been allocated for 172 ongoing and 39 new education sector projects in 2021-22. Out of that amount, Rs4.3 billion has been allocated for primary education, Rs12.1 billion for secondary education, Rs1.2 billion for elementary and secondary education, and Rs7 billion for higher education.

In Balochistan province, 510 ongoing and 380 new education sector projects will be funded with Rs31.4 billion allocation. Rs2.3 billion will go to primary education, Rs1.9 billion to middle education, Rs8.6 billion to secondary education, Rs8.5 billion to college education, Rs9.5 billion to university education, Rs0.2 billion to general education, and Rs0.4 billion to technical education. In the preceding year, allocation for the education sector was Rs9.1 billion.