LAHORE: The Punjab government has allocated Rs442 billion for education in the financial year 2021-22 with an increase of 13 per cent from last year.
The government had proposed Rs54.22bn for development expenditure and Rs388bn for current expenses while spending on education would be 17 per cent of the total Punjab budget.
Out of [Rs54.22bn] development outlay, Rs33bn have been set aside for school education, Rs 15.065bn for higher education, Rs755 million for special education, and Rs 2.9bn for literacy and non-formal basic education.
With a view to addressing the problem of access to education, Insaaf School upgrade programme has been launched and during the year 25pc of primary schools (8,360) would be given the status of elementary schools and around 40pc of these schools are situated in south Punjab.
A sum of Rs6.5bn was earmarked for upgrade of schools to bring around 2m students back to schools.
The government has sanctioned Rs23bn for schools being run under the Punjab Education Foundation and PEIMA to help 33m students.
Meanwhile, Rs15bn development budget has been set aside for higher education, posting an increase of around 285pc compared to the previous year.
The government is taking measures to establish universities at district level in the province and has established six universities.
The government has also accorded approval to establishment of universities in eight other districts - Attock, Gujranwala, Rajanpur, Pakpattan, Hafizabad, Bhakkar, Layyah and Sialkot - while seven more universities would be set up in Bahawalnagar, Toba Tek Singh, Muzaffargarh, DG Khan, Kasur and Sheikhupura.
Rs 17bn worth of funds have been specified for establishment of an engineering and technology university in Sialkot.
The government will establish 86 new colleges in different districts of the province. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed to provide Rahmatulal Ameen scholarships to 15,000 intelligent and deserving students with an allocation of Rs834m.
Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2021