ISLAMABAD: A researcher at a policy dialogue has revealed that if the Pakistani government wanted to achieve 100 percent enrolment in federal capital Islamabad it should construct 85 new schools or set up 4,072 classrooms in the existing schools and appoint 4,568 new teachers.
Under Article 25-A of the Pakistani constitution, enrolment of every child between the age of 5 to 16 has been made mandatory but it can only happen if the government gradually increases education budget by 7 per cent by 2025.
Ahmed Ali was giving a presentation at the dialogue, which was organised by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences, here yesterday. He said that quarterly releases by the finance division to education department and its usage should also be presented on the floor of the parliament to ensure transparency. He was satisfied with the increase of education budget by 25 per cent over last year. The current budget for education for the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) – which deals with Islamabad – was increased by 80 percent but allocation for development budget was decreased by the same amount.
Ali also questioned zero allocation for free textbooks to the low cost private schools initiative. The budget for NEAS (National Education Assessment Systems) has been increased substantially from the last year, but NEAS has failed to come up with any fresh assessment of student learning in schools since 2006.
Member of National Assembly from Islamabad Asad Umar of PTI urged the government to prioritise the education as a national agenda instead of focusing on infrastructure projects like roads and flyovers. He said that education revolution is only possible if it is embedded in the political discourse.
Member of National Assembly Maiza Hameed of ruling Pakistan Muslim league-N said that government was committed to increasing literacy rate and that was why focusing on education sector.
Deputy Secretary Ministry of Education Dr Imranullah Khan agreed that there was a need to make further improvement in budget making and spending the funds in various sectors as highlighted in the presentation.
Legal expert Naeem Sidhu highlighted the Article 25-A of the Constitution and pointed out that all the children between 5 to 16 years of age can only by enrolled if all stakeholders would take collective measures.