Higher education sector budget increased by Rs15bn

Published June 12, 2021
Pak Secretariat employees protest against, what they called, insufficient increase in their salaries outside the Parliament House in Islamabad on Friday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Pak Secretariat employees protest against, what they called, insufficient increase in their salaries outside the Parliament House in Islamabad on Friday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s budget saw an increase of around Rs15 billion compared to the outgoing year’s allocation as the federal government earmarked Rs108 billion for development and non-development expenditure of the higher education sector.

According to the budgetary documents, for the fiscal year 2021-22 the government has earmarked Rs108 billion - 42.4b for development and 66.25b for non-development expenditure of the HEC.

An amount of Rs42.4b has been earmarked for 127 ongoing and 39 new development schemes.

The news schemes included the establishment of Institute of Sufism and Mysticism at Bahauddin Zakariya University for which the government has set aside Rs100 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Whereas Rs350 million have been allocated for Kamyab Jawan Sports Academies and Youth Olympic at HEC and Rs525 million for establishment of a technology park at Sukkur IBA University, Rs300 million for Fullbright scholarship Support Programme HEC-USAID.

HEC to get Rs108bn for development, non-development expenditure

To strengthen Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Rs411 million have been allocated while for strengthening Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, Rs375 million have been allocated. For the construction of an academic block at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Rs300 million have been set aside. Moreover, Rs300 million have been allocated for the construction of the main campus of Khushal Khan Khattak University. Rs575 million have been earmarked for construction of two new departments at Quest Nawabshah; Rs600 million for development of essential needs for establishment of Government College University, Hyderabad, and Rs300 million for development of Government College University Lahore campus at Kala Shah Kaku. Other allocations are: Rs375m for development of University of Okara, Rs200m for enhancement of academic facilities at NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, and Rs400m for the establishment of Comsats University at Kot Addu.

For the outgoing fiscal year, the federal government had earmarked Rs93 billion for the HEC - Rs29b for development and Rs64b for non-development schemes.

The universities and HEC have been demanding an increase in HEC’s budget especially for non-development. However, the budgetary documents showed that for the upcoming fiscal year there is no serious increase in non-development budget which is meant for salaries as government has earmarked Rs66.25bn for non-development budget compared to Rs64.1b for the same head in the fiscal year 2020-21.

HEC’s recurring budget was Rs63.1 billion in 2017-18, Rs65.02 billion in 2018-19, Rs64.1 billion in 2019-20. The same allocation of Rs64.1 billion in 2020-21 means the recurring budget remained almost stagnant.

The non-development budget is meant for 138 public sector universities with 92 sub-campuses.

Meanwhile, Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) expressed concerns over the HEC budget.

It said the universities had demanded Rs150bn non-development budget but the government set aside only Rs66.25 billion non-development budget.

Through a press release, Fapuasa representatives said they would stage protests against the government for allocating less budget for non-development schemes for the public sector universities.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021

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