Education allocation stands 500% higher than last year of PML-N govt: Shafqat

Education ministry requests Interior for proposed ICT local govt ordinance amendments

ISLAMABAD, Jun 23 (APP): Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood Wednesday said the federal government had allocated funds amounting to Rs 28 billion for education sector in the budget 2021-22, which stood almost 500 percent higher than the PML-N regime’s last year allocation.

“The PML-N in its last year in government had spent Rs4.7 billion in education sector, while the PTI government allocated Rs28 billion for the current financial year that was 100 percent higher than its previous budget, and 500 percent higher than the allocation of the previous government’s last year,” he said while participating in the budget debate.

Negating the opposition parties’ impression of insufficient allocation in the education sector, he said the government had earmarked Rs15 billion for the federal educational institutes, out of which 95 percent funds had been utilized, and Rs7 billion more would be spent during the next year.

He said the PML-N had allocated Rs80 billion for higher education in its last year, whereas the PTI government kept Rs124 billion for the universities.

Similarly, the minister said recurring and development grants of PML-N stood Rs64 billion and Rs18 billion respectively in its last year, while the incumbent government allocated Rs81 billion and Rs42.5 billion in this budget respectively.

Shafqat said when the PTI government came into power as many as 177 degree awarding universities and institutions were operating in the country, and now the number had reached 230, which spoke about the volume of the government importance towards education.

He said during the PTI government tenure so far the enrollment in educational institutions had increased by 45 percent; besides 25 percent students were being provided financial assistance.

There was also 70 percent increase in PhD faculty at the educational institutions, he said, adding overseas scholarships had also surged by 400 percent.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had badly affected the country’s education system, but the federal government in collaboration with all provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir took unanimous decisions with regard to closure and opening of schools, colleges and universities, besides conducting the annual examinations.

Last year, he said the students were given next grades without examinations, but the experience remained unpleasant, so this year a collective decision had been taken that students would not be promoted without examinations.

“This is a unanimous decision that no grade will be given without examinations,” he said and made it clear that examinations for secondary schools (9th&10th classes) and intermediate (1st and 2nd year classes) would be held after July 10 at all costs.

He asked the students to get themselves prepared for the examinations as the course work had been reduced up to 10 percent and examinations would be limited to elective subjects only.

He said the government started tele-school within 15 days after emergence of the virus in the country from where around 7 to 8 million students were getting education on daily basis. Following which radio-school, tele-portal and several others initiatives were launched to continue studies of the students, he added.

He said when the online classes were started during the lockdown due to the virus spread; it came to know that there was a ‘digital divide’ as there were a lot of localities where internet facility was not available.

“We have decided to end the digital divide by ensuring the facility of connectivity across the country,” he said highlighting the importance of switching over to modern modes of education.

The minister vowed that there would be uniform syllabus across the country from the next educational year for all public and private institutes, adding the equal standard of learning would be ensured for all. “The uniform syllabus is a revolutionary step of the PTI government,” he said.

He said the government was committed to extend all possible assistance to religious seminaries, as many as 5,000 Madaris had so far been registered.

He said the government had also initiated a project for skill development of youth making them useful citizens of the country.

Under the Ehsaas Programme, he said as many as 50,000 scholarships were being given to undergraduates, around 1,000 to nursing sector and 4,000 in the field of art and culture.