Education budget raised by 15 percent

education-budget-raised-by-15-percentKARACHI: Sindh government has increased the education allocation in Sindh Budget 2011-12 by 15 percent. Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah said in his budget speech that the provincial government had kept education on its priority as the recurrent education budget, including technical education, had been increased from Rs 22.8 billion to Rs 26.2 billion. He said that 8,000 schoolteachers would also be recruited in the forthcoming fiscal year. He said the government realised the fact that investments should be made in the education sector, particularly at grass-root level so as to safeguard the future of the country. It has also planned to increase the education budget by introducing Minimum Funding Standard for Schools (MFSS).

He said that through the initiative of MFSS, non-salary budget of schools would be increased from Rs 830 million to Rs 3,670 million in the upcoming fiscal year, which would be 342 percent more than the currant year. The minister said that the government would launch 700 new schools in collaboration with the private sector in different areas of the province, which were earlier deprived of educational institutes. During the fiscal year 2010-2011, 300 schools were already launched in such type of areas with the same mechanism, he added.

The government has established two new universities in Lyari (Karachi) and Benazirabad. He said that two new engineering universities are also being established in Larkana and Khairpur, besides all these universities, four community colleges are also being established in Dadu, Naushehro Feroze, Jacobabad and Khairpur in collaboration with the Institute of Business Administration Sukkur. He said: “Moreover on the special directives of President Asif Ali Zardari, two cadet colleges each for girls and boys are being established in Sindh.”

He said the Shaheen Vocational Training Institute (SVTI) established at Nawabshah in collaboration with the Pakistan Air Force would open the doors of employment for local youth in Pakistan’s Armed Forces. The minister said that during the last year the government had taken several initiatives for the betterment of education sector in the province, including rehabilitation of 1024 schools with an amount of Rs 2.408 billion, recruitment of 8,000 teachers for public schools on merit and need basis, provision of free text books to 4 million students. Besides this Rs 1,078.188 million were granted to 40,249 School Management Committees to promote education on grass-root level and Rs 1071.57 million were distributed among 380,000 female students of class VI to X to curb withdrawal rate of female students from schools.

He said that the government also engaged international institutions to provide quality education to the local youth. The reforms in education sector are being introduced on large scale with the support and assistance of the World Bank and the European Union. He said: “Sindh Education Reform Programme (SERP), focused on the betterment of educational institutes, environment, quality education, participation of female students and other issues, has two components of financing. The first component of $6 million is for technical assistance and the second of $294 million for satisfactory achievement of disbursement linked indicators.”

“So far $205.54 million have been received, while an accord regarding soft loans of $50 million has been signed during the current year, while the World Bank and the European Union are willing to continue the SERP for next three years,” he said. – Dailytimes