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LAHORE, June 17: The Punjab government has earmarked Rs40.597 billion current and development budget for education sector for 2013-14 raising it by 29.67 per cent against outgoing fiscal year’s current and development allocation of Rs31.307 billion.

In financial terms, the Punjab government has increased budget to the tune of Rs9.29 billion for fiscal 2013-14.

However, the revised allocation for 2012-13 shows that the Punjab government had spent Rs41.151 billion, some Rs9.844 billion (31.443 per cent) over and above the estimated budget.

Of the total current revenue expenditure in Punjab, the Education Affairs and Services have been given 6.68 per cent share, according to the Punjab budget for the year 2013-14 announced by Finance Minister Mian Shujaur Rehman at Punjab Assembly budget session on Monday.

The Punjab government has set aside Rs26.895 billion for annual development programme of education sector. The development budget break-up shows that Rs15.5 billion have been allocated for school education, Rs6.67 billion for higher education, Rs1.14 billion for special education, Rs1.605 billion for literacy and Rs1.975 billion for sports.

It may be mentioned that the Punjab government has allocated one-line current and development budget of Rs190.294 billion for the district governments making consolidated Rs230.891 billion allocation for the education sector for the next financial year.

Of Punjab government’s total Rs290 billion development budget, the government has allocated Rs1.5 billion for Tevta/Tevtec; Rs3 billion for the establishment of six new Daanish Schools; Rs3 billion for Punjab Millennium Development Goals programme; Rs2 billion for Punjab Education Endowment Fund to offer scholarships to talented students; Rs7.5 billion for Punjab Education Foundation; Rs1.5 billion for internship programmes; and Rs500 million for Punjab Technology University.

Under the Punjab Education Sector Reforms Project, the government has provided Rs10.4 billion for disbursement of non-salary budgets to schools, stipends to girls, free textbooks and management of public sector schools through school councils. This amount also includes a block allocation of Rs3.5 billion as additional conditional grant for non-salary budget of schools in nine pilot districts of Punjab.

The Punjab government intends that these funds will help school administration/school management councils to provide better services to children in schools.

Responding to massive demand to bring the private sector educational institutions under government’s monitoring, the Punjab government had (in 2012-13 budget) announced that all private sector educational institutions – schools, colleges, professional colleges and universities – that charge more than Rs5,000 fee per month would allocate at least 10 per cent seats for students belonging to non-affording under privilege class of the society – on merit.

The finance minister acknowledged that this announcement required legislation and announced the Punjab government would legislate to implement its decision. He said the implementation of this decision would benefit thousands of talented students belonging to poor strata of society.

The Punjab government had so far failed to enact any law to supervise the affairs of the private sector educational institutions.

According to allocations for the sub-sectors of education, the Punjab government has earmarked Rs20.981 billion for tertiary (higher) education; Rs14.542 billion for secondary education; Rs991.916 million for pre-primary education; Rs170.413 million for education services non-definable by level; Rs238.1 million for subsidiary services to education; and Rs3.673 billion for education affairs and services, not elsewhere classified.