LAHORE: The government of Punjab has allocated Rs345 billion for education in the 2017-18 budget, which is 17.51 per cent of the total allocation. In comparison, Punjab has increased the total education budget by 10.29 per cent (Rs32.2 billion) from fiscal year 2016-17.
Out of the total allocation for education, 21.47 per cent (Rs74.1 billion) has been allocated for development. Around 72 per cent (Rs53.36 billion) of the development budget has been allocated for schemes related to school education. Rs1.06 billion has been set aside for the development programmes of special education and Rs1.65 billion has been allocated for literacy.
In the development budget for schools, Rs9.56 billion has been allocated for ongoing schemes, Rs17.79 billion for new schemes and Rs26 billion for other development programmes. The Punjab government has allocated Rs3 billion for Daanish School and Center of Excellence Authority, Rs7 billion for Public School Support Programme (PSSP) and Rs16 billion for Punjab Education Foundation (PEF). An allocation of Rs3.5 billion has been made to provide free textbooks to children in public schools of the province.
In the fiscal year, the Punjab government allocated Rs230 billion for District Education Authorities (DEAs) and an Rs14 billion was earmarked in the non-salary budget (NSB).
During the speech, Punjab Minister for Finance Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said the Punjab government has increased the scholarship for girls by five times in 16 under-developed districts of the province with a budgetary allocation of Rs6.5 billion for these areas. As many as 0.46 million girls will benefit from the scheme.”
An amount of Rs9 billion has been allocated to upgrade teachers’ basic pay scales.
In her speech, Pasha said, “As many as 0.3 million teachers will benefit from the move and the process of upgradation will begin from January 2018.” Primary School Teachers (PST) will be upgraded from grade 9 to 14, Elementary School Teachers from grade 14 to 15 and EST in grade 15 will get to grade 16. For those EST who are already in grade 16, there will be two annual increments and similar incentive will also be given to SSTs.
For higher education, a total budget of Rs44.6 billion has been allocated. In the development budget for higher education, Rs6.15 billion has been allocated for ongoing schemes, Rs5.88 billion for new schemes and Rs6 billion for other development programmes.
Allocations have been made for establishment of 50 new colleges, a teachers’ training academy and buildings of three new universities.
Rs800 million has been allocated for foreign scholarships for masters and PhD programmes and establishment of IT universities in Faisalabad, among other schemes.
The Lahore Knowledge Park Company (LKPC) has been allocated Rs500 million, Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF) has been given Rs5 billion and Rs500 million has been set aside for the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC). An allocation of Rs7 billion has been made for the fourth phase of the Chief Minister Laptop Scheme.
In the development budget for special education, Rs538 million has been allocated for ongoing schemes and Rs521.9 million has been allocated for new ones. In the development budget for literacy, Rs1.6 billion has been allocated for ongoing schemes and Rs44 million has been allocated for new ones.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2017.