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Pakistan spending the least on education among all South Asian states

ISLAMABAD: Regardless of an upsurge in the 2015-16 education budget Pakistan’s present spending on education is the bottommost in South Asia.

“Pakistan has a literacy rate of 58pc, which has improved from 35pc in 1990-91, but still way behind the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 88pc, which was to be achieved by the end of 2015,” a report launched on Wednesday stated.

The report, ‘Public Financing of Education in Pakistan and Agenda for Education Budget 2016-17’, was propelled by the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS).

The report also said there are around 24 million out-of-school children in Pakistan, the second highest figure in the world after Nigeria.

Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Mohammad Balighur Rehman joined the launch of the report.

“The government must know that it is lacking in education budgeting and public financing, a healthy dialogue on such a pertinent issue is extremely beneficial for education,” he said.

Mr Rehman added that the present restraints and developments to the education system must be kept in mind, and spoke about the upsurge in the education budget over the last three years.

Giving the report, I-SAPS executive director Salman Humayun said an examination of previous federal and provincial education budgets discovered some encouraging facts.

“It is heartening to see a visible increase in education budgets for all the provinces in 2015-16, with Balochistan registering an increase of 19pc, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 12pc, Punjab with 10pc and Sindh with an increased allocation of 7pc, compared with the previous year’s budgets,” he said.

Mr Humayun said that rendering to the analysis of education budgets, budgetary allocations were not usually leveraged against key challenges, such as the access and quality of education.

“Some of the considerable issues in this context include inadequate engagement of legislature in the budget-making process, insufficient allocations compared with the actual needs, untimely fiscal flow, corruption, huge administrative expenditure, lack of transparency,” he said.