Minister assures increase in educational budget

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtun-khwa Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Inayatullah Khan has said there will be a substantial increase in education budget in coming financial year.

Addressing the launching ceremony of a study conducted by the Centre for Governance and Public Accountability, the provincial minister stressed the need for improving literacy rate, women’s education and quality of education at primary and secondary levels.

The minister said the incumbent government had announced education emergency but added that the allocated fund for education in the outgoing financial year was not spent properly due to some bureaucratic hurdles and the concept of consultancy. He said more funds would be allocated in the upcoming budget wherein added attention would be given to girl education.

Speaking at the same event, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Afzal Latif said Rs355 billion needed to be invested in the next five years to improve the education crisis faced by the province. He stated that even if Rs335 billion were available, there were huge capacity issues to invest the money in the education sector.

He appreciated the role of the civil society organisations in promoting education and said the government and civil society needed to work together in making the education sector more transparent.

The study, which the CGPA launched, states that in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elementary and secondary education, there was little coincidence of policy claims and actual practices.The study analyses the elementary and secondary education budget of KP for fiscal year 2011-2012, FY 2012-13 and FY 2013-2014, highlighting the trends in allocation, priorities of the government and budget making practices that require involvement of citizens.

The study notes that despite the KP government’s commitment to meet the millennium development goal of ensuring 100 percent enrolment rate in E & S education and ensuring 88 percent overall literacy rate, the current budget allocation trends do not match the policy claims.

The study highlighted gender gaps in both provision of educational facilities and budget allocations. While the population of the province is almost evenly divided between men and women, educational facilities meant for girls only constitute 35-40 per cent of the total budget.

Kalimullah, information commissioner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Commission, highlighted the importance of right to information for ensuring right to education. He said state of education could not improve without knowing how the budgets were allocated and utilized by citizens.