A report on education budgeting and expenditure has revealed that 13.1 million children between the ages of 5 to 16 are out of school.
The report titled: Public Financing of Education in Pakistan, prepared by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS), was launched on Wednesday. “52 per cent of these out-of-school children are females,” the report said.
According to the report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, Pakistan is spending 2.14 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, which is the lowest in South Asia.
“Pakistan has a literacy rate of 58 per cent significantly short of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of 88 per cent. The Punjab has a total of 52,695 public schools, out of which 51 per cent are for girls. Out of these schools, majority are primary schools - 69 per cent, followed by 16 per cent middle, 12 per cent high and 1 per cent higher secondary schools. Overall enrolment in government schools is 10.9 million students, out of which 37 per cent students are enrolled at primary level,” the report said.
The report said that the Punjab government had allocated Rs286.5 billion in 2015-16 for education, representing an increase of 10 per cent compared over the budget in 2014-15.
It said that 85 per cent of the Rs242 billion budget had been apportioned.
The report said that salaries and related expenses would consume 86 per cent of the current budget. “A total of 14 per cent of the current budget has been set aside for non-salary purposes. Development projects will receive 15 per cent of the education budget, an estimated Rs44.2 billion,” the report said.
The report said that Rs134 billion had been allocated for secondary education and Rs110.8 billion for primary education.
The report said that the lowest percentage of funds utilisation had been recorded in 2014-15, when 18 per cent of the education budget had remained unspent.
The report said that the budget for development purposes had remained low. The report said that in 2015-16, a budget of Rs44.16 billion had been earmarked for development purposes, which constituted 15 per cent of the education budget for the year. “The share of development budget in the total budget had gone up from 12 per cent of the total education budget in 2010-11 to 15 per cent in 2015-16,” the report said.
The report said that for teachers’ training, an amount of Rs4.45 billion had been allocated in 2015-16. “A budget of Rs3 billion was allocated for Danish schools in 2015-16,” it said. The Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) was allocated a budget of Rs908 million in 2015-16, representing an increase of 15 per cent compared with the budgetary allocation of Rs787 million in 2014-15.
For Punjab Education Assessment System (PEAS), zero budgetary allocations were made in 2014-15. No funds were set aside for it in 2015-16 as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.