The getting of wisdom

Published: February 25, 2015
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Schools in Punjab are to get Rs48 billion (Rs 6.7 billion more than last year) out of a provincial total budget of Rs 1,349 billion. PHOTO: AFP

Schools in Punjab are to get Rs48 billion (Rs 6.7 billion more than last year) out of a provincial total budget of Rs 1,349 billion. PHOTO: AFP

There has been much criticism of provincial governments regarding the way that they have disbursed devolved budgets since the Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution. Much of that criticism is wholly justified, and education is often the loser. However, Punjab appears to be doing things educational more right than wrong. Throwing money at the education problem is not the answer per se, the money has to be tightly targeted in such a way as to strengthen and improve education across the board. Schools in Punjab are to get Rs48 billion (Rs 6.7 billion more than last year) out of a provincial total budget of Rs 1,349 billion. This is not a new development, and an increasing realisation that the education crisis has to be tackled decisively has been developing over the last five years. There has been a greater devolution to local administrations in budgetary terms, and local decisions reflect local priorities so long as they are in line with the overarching provincial education policy. Poverty indicators are used to tilt budgets in the direction of the neediest and deprived educationally. The School Education Department sends data collection teams out every month to measure progress against 14 indicators. The results are to be verified and analysed by an independent third party.

This is some of the most encouraging news we have seen for a long time. Meeting the challenge of educating an expanding population was always going to mean investing large sums in primary and secondary education. Not at the expense of higher education but eventually to complement it. Five years ago Article 25-A was inserted into the Constitution granting as a right free and compulsory education to all children between five and 16. The getting of wisdom may be free to the end user, but making it happen takes hard cash. It needs qualified well paid teachers that get their salaries paid every month. It needs classrooms that are well-equipped, computer labs and libraries. Wisdom is not acquired by osmosis. Have a star, Punjab Education Department.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Toticalling
    Feb 25, 2015 - 1:41AM

    Article 25A gave the right of free education 5 years ago. that is good news, but what is needed is to make sure that it is a must for all children and any parent not sending kids to school would be fined. Thing will get betterr if the education is free for poor kids and charity organisations are asked to compensate the parents if they havr no income. Those who employ kids must be heavily fined. Of course both boys and girls must be ‘forced’ to go to school.Recommend

  • Tousif Latif
    Feb 25, 2015 - 2:44PM

    Punjab government schools enrol most deprived and neglected children.Teaching them particularly at primary level is one of the most difficult and challenging job.It requires lot of skill training and patience for a teacher to deliver.Our primary teachers are unfortunately neither trained nor educated enough to perform the assigned task efficiently.Moreover their salary structure and working conditions lack alot to be desired.To achieve a turnaround we need to transform the look and image of a primary teacher in society as Korean Chinese and Malaysian did in their countries.Recommend

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