Zainab Husain |
Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah placed education as a priority in his budget speech for 2017-18 presented to Sindh Assembly in June. This emphasis on education was reflected in the 24 percent increase from the 2016-17 education budget of PKR 163.12 billion to PKR 202.2 billion. Mr. Shah stated that special attention needs to be given to curriculum development and teacher training in order to ensure quality education and combat bigotry and extremism.
Concerns regarding overspending on salaries
The past several years have seen increases in Sindh’s education budget, however, in reality, a large amount of the increase goes towards salaries for non-performing teachers. Between 2010 and 2016, the Sindh education budget has increased 8 times while the Sindh salary budget has gone up 12 times. So the difficult question remains: Will this increase of 24% now make any difference?
The budget for STEVTA and special education remains the same as last years and allocation for schemes relating to schools and university boards has been increased
Problems are complex: according to a paper by SAHE and Alif Ailaan, government school teachers are paid $150- $1,000 per month, which is substantially more than what private school teachers are paid, on average ($25-$50 per month). Furthermore, government school teachers have more training and education than private school teachers.
Read more: Higher purposes of university education
Despite this, on average, children who attend private schools are one and a half to two grades ahead of those who attend government schools according to LEAPS. The CM addresses this concern in his speech and claims that “non-salary allocation of the education sector is much higher and has been increasing over the years.”
Additionally, low enrollment has been a consistent problem in Sindh. When responding to a question filed by Nusrat Abbasi, during Question Hour in the Sindh Assembly session, Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar stated that around 3 million children were out of school in Sindh. Murad Ali Shah spoke about some of the steps the Government of Sindh is taking to tackle this issue in the upcoming fiscal year.
This money has been allocated for 460 new and ongoing schemes for five branches of education- school education, college education, special education, STEVTA and universities and boards
Steps include the introduction of a ‘reward system’ through which PKR 100,000 will be granted to every student who achieved A-1 grade in Intermediate and Matriculation exams. The Government of Sindh has also set aside PKR 1 billion to create a new endowment fund that aims to provide financial assistance to college and university students.
Moreover, an amount of PKR 1 billion has been allocated for free registration and board examinations for students at all levels of education at public sector institutions. The chief minister hopes these mediations will serve as an incentive for students to appear in board exams and will increase enrolment in public sector institutions.
Sindh Education Foundation
The chief minister announced Sindh Education Foundation will receive PKR 8.08 billion, an increase of 7% over the current allocation. The Foundation aims to increase the quality of education in the most underprivileged parts of Sindh and is currently serving almost 500,000 students in 2100 schools all over Sindh.
The Foundation aims to increase the quality of education in the most underprivileged parts of Sindh and is currently serving almost 500,000 students in 2100 schools all over Sindh
The Foundation intends to expand to 2400 schools and reach around 650,000 students in the upcoming fiscal year. In the current fiscal year, The Foundation launched the ‘Adolescent and Adult Learning Program’ and a ‘Teach for Change’ program through which young graduates from reputed institutions are encouraged to teach in poor schools in the area.
Annual Development Program
The Annual Development Program (ADP) allocation for education has increased from PKR 17.230 billion in the previous fiscal year to PKR 21.128 from the total of PKR 244 billion assigned for ongoing and new schemes in all sectors.
The CM addresses this concern in his speech and claims that “non-salary allocation of the education sector is much higher and has been increasing over the years.”
This money has been allocated for 460 new and ongoing schemes for five branches of education- school education, college education, special education, Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (STEVTA) and universities and boards.
The budget for STEVTA and special education remains the same as last years and allocation for schemes relating to schools and university boards has been increased. Schemes to be completed in the next financial year include developing infrastructure and basic facilities at the University of Sindh Jamshoro at a cost of PKR 151 million and the development of Dawood University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi for PKR 131 million.
Zainab Hussain writes regularly on social and political issues. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.