ISLAMABAD: With over 24 million children out of school and the sector perennially underfunded, the state of education in the country is ‘not good’.
This was conceded by the State Minister for Education Balighur Rehman on Thursday. He was addressing the inaugural session of a two-day Conference on National Education Systems organised by the Education Department of the National University of Modern Languages (NUML).
Explaining the situation in the country, particularly the paucity of funds, Rehman said that the country had a tax-to-GDP ratio of just 8.1 per cent while the government was spending 2.5 per cent of GDP on education. Lower tax collection, the minister suggested, meant there was less money to spend on education. Despite the lack of resources, Rehman said that the government had earmarked Rs91 billion for higher education in the 2016-17 budget while Rs30 billion had been allocated for research and development.
While noting that after the 18th amendment, it was now the responsibility of the provincial governments to ensure provision and standards of education, he said the federal government was striving to formulate a national curriculum which will be taught in all federating units of the country. In this regard, he said a National Curriculum Conference and an inter-provincial ministerial conference had been formed which had convened eight times.
Earlier, NUML Rector Major General (retired) Ziauddin Najam in his address said that education is a vital issue which needs to be addressed. He added that while Islam began with the word “read”, but that was university from Muslim countries in the list of top 100 varsities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2016.