18 Nov 2019

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Spending less and still crawling

Education is the single most important factor contributing to poverty alleviation in any country. Education plays an overarching role and has a cross-cutting impact on all aspects of human life. It is a vital investment for human and economic development which has been proved scientifically and endorsed by World Bank and different UN agencies. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s in still crawling like an infant state and its standing on this front is poor. Even Nepal, Bhutan and Senegal spend more on education than Pakistan. While Bhutan spends 6.1 percent of its GDP on Education Pakistan allocates only 2.1 percent of its GDP on this sector no wonder our universities cannot appear even in the list of top 200 universities.

Pakistan due to its poor education level falls to the bottom of the World Bank Human Capital Index report while Singapore stands on the top of the list.

According to the Human Capital Index, a “child born in Pakistan today will be 39 percent as productive” when he or she grows up as he or she could be if provided complete education and full health – 59 percent of his ability to perform is eroded due to poor systems.

This means an average Pakistani child would perform at only 39% of his productivity of a total 100% given the current level of health and education facilities. Moreover, a Pakistani child was expected to complete just 8.8 years of education if enrolled in school at age 4.

With the level of education and poverty and health falling to rock bottom the government should be spending more on education and health but unfortunately, it allocated on one percent of the GDP for health and has reduced the amount spent on education by 20 percent.

Education Affairs and Services were allocated Rs 77.262 billion for 2019-20 as compared to Rs 97.155 billion in revised estimates of 2018-19. The bulk of expenditure at Rs 65.233 billion has been allocated for Tertiary Education Affairs and Services in budget 2019-20, which is 84.4 percent of the total allocation under this head. The HEC as a consequence has reduced grants to universities which will greatly impede their smooth functioning and research projects.

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