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Edu Budget cut to affect developement

M Sharif Rana

Since when PTI has been in power in Pakistan, it has been facing too much criticism. Public is not satisfied from the govt. Experts of every field have bitterly criticized their government’s policies. Instead of promoting higher education, it seems that govt. is trying to eradicate education from Pakistan.

Many claims were made to promote education but all of them proved fake. Before victory in 2018 elections, PM Imran Khan in his every speech vowed to promote education in Pakistan. But now, his govt. has reduced HEC budget.

Reducing HEC budget will create many hindrances in the way of promoting higher education in Pakistan. A lame excuse being made by govt. officials to support this shit of budget cut is about severe economic condition of Pakistan.  The students and education experts have raised a question whether they are responsible for the severe economic conditions. Why they are not being given their due right?

In budget 2017-18, HEC had a great part. But now it has been reduced from 35 billion to 28.65 billion. At first PMLN government allocated 46.67995 billion to HEC but later it was reduced to 35 billion only. Out of 28.65 billion, 25.78 billion rupees have been allocated for ongoing projects, while only 2.87 billion rupees have been allocated for new projects.

Among ongoing schemes, 170 million for Centre for Mathematical Science (CMS) at PIEAS Islamabad, 229 million for development of Fatima Jinnah Women University, 350 million for enhancement of research facilities at UVAS, 520 million for Fulbright Scholarship Support Program HEC-USAID and 150 million have been allocated for upgrading universities.

Allocating only 2.87 billion to research and new projects is an alarming situation for research scholars. How will research prosper in Pakistan in such a low budget? There is already lack of research laboratories. The standard of research is also very low. How will the students completing their research from these laboratories be able to face international market?

“For development budget, HEC had demanded Rs59 billion but the government approved only Rs28 billion,” the HEC chairman said.

Experts say that the higher education sector should be allocated at least one-fourth of the total education budget to improve the standards of university educations in the country, but unfortunately, in Pakistan, the higher education is allocated only tenth of the standard recommended amount. 

Standard of education is the basic criteria to check the progress of a country. Reducing education budget will lower the standard of education. It will decrease the number of students. Such a low budget will also hurt the programs devised for further promoting higher education. 

Only a small percentage of Pakistanis currently get enrolled at university level. Budget cuts to HEC will lead to higher fees of semesters, thus reducing the number of university graduates.  Private sector universities already charge high fee.

A student from poor socio-economic background can never get admission to any of them. Only elitists study in these universities. By reducing HEC budget, students will not be able to get admission to any public sector university more.

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