ISLAMABAD: The federal government has not felt the need to increase the development budgets of the Ministry of Federal Education and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the forthcoming fiscal year.
According to the budget documents for 2015-16, an amount of Rs3.45 billion has been set aside for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. In the outgoing budget (2014-15), the ministry had been allocated almost the same amount.
Similarly, there is no increase in the development budget of the HEC which has been promised Rs20,500 million for its 47 ongoing and scores of new development schemes. Last year, the federal government had allocated Rs19,609.7 million for the HEC.
According to the budget documents, Rs3,450 million have been allocated for the federal education ministry for its nine ongoing and three new schemes against the previous year’s budget of Rs3,451.3 million.
This amount includes Rs1 billion for the unapproved project, “Education sector reforms-ICT” under which the federal education ministry would introduce reforms in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)’s education sector though the ministry has nothing to do with the education sector of the capital.
The education ministry will be spending Rs1bn on introducing reforms in education sector of capital
“We are surprised why the government has allocated Rs1 billion for the education ministry to introduce reforms in the ICT. The education ministry has nothing to do with the education of Islamabad,” said a senior officer of Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD).
He said CADD, through its subordinate organisation - the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) - was looking after the affairs of 422 educational institutions in the federal capital.
“If the government was serious in brining reforms to the education sector in Islamabad, the project should have been given under CADD,” the officer said.
However, officials in the federal education ministry told Dawn that as per the recommendations of a committee headed by Minister for Planning and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal the educational institutions in Islamabad would be brought under the federal education ministry.
“Sooner or later, the education ministry will take over the administrative control of the FDE-run educational institutions and that’s why the government has allocated Rs1 billion for the education reforms,” said a senior official in the ministry.
It may be noted that a few months ago the committee had recommended to the prime minister to place the educational institutions under the administrative control of the education ministry. However, the prime minister is yet to take any decision.
Besides the Rs2,413 million for nine ongoing schemes, the education ministry will also initiate three new projects worth Rs3,450 million. An amount of Rs7 million has been allocated for the National Curriculum Council and Rs30 million for the national best teacher award scheme.
Like the education ministry, there will be no increase in the funds for the HEC this year.
Speaking to Dawn, a senior official of the HEC said besides the funds allocated for development projects in the fiscal year 2014-15, the government recently approved a special budget of almost Rs7 billion for the development projects of the HEC.
“For the next fiscal year, we have demanded around Rs30 billion and even if Rs20 billion are released, it will be satisfactory,” the official said.
Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2015