The government has announced the budget for education in Pakistan and it continues to be an area not being given enough focus. While the military budget has been increased and interest payments on debt climb due to a record amount of loans, Pakistan’s spending on education as a percentage of GDP remains among the lowest in the region.
HEC Budget for FY 2018-19:
According to the budget documents Rs 111.23 billion has also been earmarked for Higher Education Commission (HEC) including Rs 46.23 billion under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) and Rs 65 billion for recurrent budget for next fiscal year as compared to Rs 95.8 billion including Rs 35.6 billion under the PSDP and Rs60.2 billion for recurrent budget for the current fiscal year.
According to the budgetary document, Rs 6.362 billion is earmarked for the new schemes of the HEC, while Rs 39.868 billion has been earmarked for the ongoing schemes.
Education Affairs and Services Budget for FY 2018-19:
Education Affairs and Services have been provided with Rs 97.42 billion in the budget estimates 2018-19 as compared with Rs 90.516 billion in budget estimates 2017-18 and Rs 90.818 billion in revised estimates 2017-18. The bulk of expenditure at Rs 71.824 billion has been allocated for Tertiary Education Affairs and Services in budget 2018-19, which is 73.7 percent of the total allocation under this head.
Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary Education Affairs Budget for FY 2018-19:
The government has earmarked Rs 10.12 billion for pre-Primary & Primary Education Affairs for 2018-19 against Rs 8.748 billion for 2017-18, Rs 12.365 billion earmarked for Secondary Education Affairs & Services for 2018-19 against Rs 10.798 billion for 2017-18, Rs 71.824 billion for Tertiary Education Affairs and Services against Rs 68.252 billion earmarked for 2017-18 which was later revised to Rs 68.468 billion, and Rs 1.588 billion for administration against Rs 1.286 billion for 2017-18 which was later revised to Rs 1.288 billion.
Education: Not a Priority in Pakistan?
Pakistan’s Public expenditure on education as a percentage to GDP is estimated at 2.2 percentage in fiscal year 2017 as compared to 2.3 percentage of GDP in fiscal year 2016, which is the lowest in the region.
After the 18th Constitutional amendment, education as subject has been devolved to provinces, and federal government mainly finances higher education.