In what can be considered a great step forward for the improvement of literacy in the province, Rs111 billion has been allocated to education in the Sindh budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013 – a massive 67 per cent increase from the amount last year.
The documents for the budget for 2012-2013 show Rs12.5 billion for development in the education sector, which is an increase of Rs1.5 billion from the amount allocated for the current fiscal year. It is pertinent to mention here that the estimated 2011-2012 development budget was initially Rs8.2 billion, but due to transfer of schools’ education budget from defunct district governments to the provincial government budget, it was increased to the revised estimate of around Rs11 billion.
“The allocation for education constitutes 20 per cent of the total outlay, which reflects the government’s strong commitment to the development of the education sector,” said provincial finance minister Murad Ali Shah in his speech.
Shah said there are several projects in the pipeline which will be a ‘breakthrough’ for literacy in the province. This includes the establishment of a university for women in Sukkur and the University of Sufism and Modern Sciences in Hala. In addition to this, four campuses of the Sindh University will be established in Badin, Thattta, Dadu and Mirpurkhas. Seven cadet colleges, including two for girls, will be established in Shaheed Benazirabad as well as Larkana and four engineering institutes and one law college are also in the pipeline.
Shah said that during financial year 2011-2012, Rs2.5 billion were provided to districts so that schools which were dilapidated or had been damaged during the floods could be rehabilitated. “About 1,024 schools were successfully rehabilitated during the fiscal year 2011-2012,” he said. Shah added that during next fiscal year, the government intends to double the funding under the school rehabilitation programme to Rs5 billion.
The total amount allocated under the Sindh education reform programme is Rs9.62 billion – a 33 per cent increase from last year. “This [sum] includes the cost of providing textbooks to all students, annual stipends for female students, developing frameworks for in-service and pre-service teachers’ training schemes and introducing student achievement tests,” said Shah.
In order to address the serious shortage of competent teachers in remote areas, the provincial government hired 8,414 people in 2011-12. “The government will hire another 8,000 teachers in the new fiscal year,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of the picture caption incorrectly stated ‘Rs111 billion’ instead of ‘Rs11 billion’. A correction has been made.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.
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