The Sindh Education Department is likely to receive Rs82.7 billion for the next fiscal year, sources from the department told The Express Tribune.
This includes Rs7.7 billion for development and Rs75 billion for the non-development sector, for the district and provincial government departments. This would be a 10 per cent for development.
Ongoing schemes will be the priority, while the provinces also have to take care of devolution for which the SED is planning to reserve a lump sum. But that figure has yet to be decided.
According to the changes, curriculum, syllabus, centres of excellence and standards of education (up to grade 12) are now Sindh’s worry. It will also have to look after Islamic education. Islamabad has retained policy and planning.
The Centre has also kept control of: external affairs, libraries, museums, and similar institutions controlled or financed by the federation, federal agencies and research institutes, those that are for professional or technical training or for the promotion of special studies, education for Pakistanis in foreign countries and foreign students in Pakistan, international treaties, conventions and agreements, and international arbitration.
The parts of devolution that remain ambiguous include the Centres of Excellence (CoE). This means that the Ministry of Education is not obliged to hand them over to Sindh. The response to the education minister’s proposal to retain curriculum has not been received so far, and needs to be reviewed.
The National Education Policy always remains a ‘consensus document’, formulated at the federal level in consultation with the provinces. Also, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) will stay under the Ministry of Education as an autonomous entity.
As the complete devolution of education is under way, provincial education (and in some cases higher education) departments need to bolster their capacity, said a highly placed official. For devolution, capacity is a critical question for the Sindh Education Department as the province is still battling multiple issues.
They include out-of-school children, closed schools (around 5,000), infrastructure development, teacher absenteeism and teaching inadequacies, quality of education, monitoring and assessment of schools, teacher training, etc. He said that after devolution the first priority of the government is curriculum and the second is teacher development. The government has already established the Provincial Institute of Teaching Education in addition to the old Sindh Teacher Education Development Authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.