The third episode of the recently launched podcast, Let’s Talk Education was graced by economist Asim Bashir Khan. He spoke at length about the investment in education and how this can yield fruitful results.
Pakistan needs to make education accessible for every child by 2030
There’s a dire need to build an infrastructure that facilitates every male and female student, especially those who are disadvantaged and require special care to acquire education, discussed Mr. Bashir during the podcast.
The government needs to work on building ramps for differently-abled students and there should be a separate setup for visually impaired children, he further added.
All of these core points have been added in a cohesive framework but unfortunately, the budgetary allocation is not sufficient enough to cover the expenses. The economist further iterated that Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) in collaboration with Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) conducted a study to find out a cumulative amount required to bring boys and girls back to school. Approximately 12 trillion rupees are required to do the needful.
Budgetary allocation in non-development sector
According to the 18th amendment, there are two divisions in the education budget. One is the development budget and the other is the non-development budget. In Pakistan, a large proportion of the budget is spent on the non-development side (which includes teacher training, enrollment of students, etc.). However, not much time and money is spent on the development sector, which is the real problem in the education sector, explained Asim Bashir.
The investment in education in both sectors is non-linear. The government needs to pay attention to the development side which aims to uplift students. Moreover, it also works towards distributing stipends among the students in order to increase their retention levels. Additionally, the development budget also caters towards initiating need-based programs for girls.
Effective and efficient budgetary framework
Since the past 15 years, the investment in education has lingered between 1.5% to 2.5% of the total GDP. This figure hasn’t improved to date and it is a real challenge for the education sector. Moreover, this investment isn’t enough to deal with the threats to the debilitating health of the education department.
On top of that, the government hasn’t put effective and efficient measures in place to utilize the budget properly. Without a proper framework, we cannot move towards a better and structured education system.
The episode of Asim Bashir Khan is particularly important because it highlights the issues at hand and what the government must do to ensure an education structure that is well-organized.
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