An Education Budget Watchers Committee (EBWC) has been formed by activists and teachers to oversee allocation and utilisation of the annual education budget for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The first meeting of EBWC was held in a local hotel on Saturday and comprised of various civil society organisations’ members and teachers from K-P and Fata. The EBWC terms of references were discussed, 10 executive body members were selected and future activities were planned at the meeting.
Participants said one-day trainings will be arranged to guide the members on the budget process. A monthly meeting will be held to discuss the committee’s progress and a quarterly public event will be held to ensure transparency and accountability.
Financial and administrative support for EBWC will come from Alif Ailaan. Its representative, Umar Orakzai, stated, “The main aim of this committee is to keep a check on government activities in the education sector and ensure responsible utilisation of the education budget.” He added the committee would pressure the education department to work consistently throughout the year.
“If they do good work, they will be appreciated. If the department is not able to utilise the funds quarterly, then [the department] will be criticised.”
Many organisations and teachers have also assured their voluntary commitment to run the committee.
MPA and ex-education minister Sardar Hussain Babak also showed his support for EBWC by participating in the meeting. He said, “People have the right to ask their representatives about the utilisation of the allocated budget in every sector. This committee brings the necessary change in the education sector as it promises accountability.”
Babak suggested EBWC collect all education-budget related information from the finance department and keep a check on government activities in the field of education.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2015.