The Punjab government has allocated a total of Rs22.75 billion for education in the budget for 2011-12, up Rs1.95 billion or 8.6 per cent from last year’s budget. With the current inflation rate standing at 5.3 per cent, that translates to a modest increase in spending.
The education budget is divided into four categories: schools, higher education, special education and literacy and non-formal basic education.
Some Rs14.5 billion is for 58 schemes in the schools department, including eight new projects. These include a plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to education as well as projects on universal primary education, gender equality, full school enrolment, science and computer education up to secondary level, and reduction in gender and regional disparities in access to education. The budget also includes allocations for the Daanish Schools System and Centres of Excellence Authority.
The higher education budget is Rs6.5 billion for 10 new schemes and 177 ongoing schemes.
The projects focus on improving infrastructure at public colleges, promoting science and computer education, and training managers and field officers. There is also money set aside for the introduction of four-year bachelors degrees at 26 public colleges this year.
The special education budget is Rs0.5 billion for 29 schemes including five new ones. The department aims to ensure that disabled children are enrolled in schools. There is also money for building computer labs at special schools and for the establishment of technical and vocational institutions.
The budget for literacy and non-formal basic education is Rs800 million for six ongoing schemes and two new ones. Under one project, the government is aiming for 100 per cent literacy by 2020.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2011.