KP budget Nothing substantial for education

By Yousaf Ali
May 25, 2024
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Aftab Alam presents budget for the fiscal year 2024-24 in the provincial assembly on May 24, 2024. — Screengrab via YouTube/Geo News

PESHAWAR: Despite tall claims, education remained the most neglected area in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa budget tabled in the provincial assembly on Friday with no new development project or initiative launched to promote primary, secondary and higher education.


Apparently, an amount of Rs 362.68 billion has been allocated for education with a 13 percent increase compared to the previous financial year, which seems to be a mere eyewash as the hike projected in the current budget would go to the non-developmental expenditures and nothing new would be introduced for promotion of education at any level.

Finance Minister Aftab Alam said 30 colleges and 350 schools would be opened in the province but in rented buildings.The only notable project included in the education budget was establishing the Centre of Excellence for Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. However, no specific details of the project could be given either.

According to the budget speech, funds amounting to Rs 35.82 billion were earmarked for higher education, which was 11 percent higher than the previous year.The major component of higher education was 34 universities and many degree-awarding institutes in the province

about which the entire document stated nothing.

Most universities are passing through a severe financial crunch and the provincial government has no plan to steer them out of the mess.Similarly, Rs 326.86 billion has been allocated for elementary and secondary education with a projected increase of 13 percent compared to the previous year.

The only detail available for the fund utilization is the establishment of 350 schools in rented buildings.The reason cited for the setting up of schools in rented buildings was to save time given the urgent requirement of schools.

In the initial part of his speech, the finance advisor enlisted the steps taken by the PTI government during its 10 years of rule for the promotion of education in the province, which seemed mere rhetoric as no substantial project could be mentioned except for making tall claims.

He stated that thousands of new schools were constructed and several were upgraded, more than 0.1 million teachers were recruited “on merit”, 84 colleges and 10 universities were set up in the province during the PTI rule.

The scholarships given to the students were also mentioned in the budget speech. The only project cited in the budget speech, having existence on the ground, was the establishment of 2000 Girl Community Schools in the province.

The low-cost informal community schools were set up by the Elementary and Secondary Education Foundation, which was an inefficient organization in the first tenure of the PTI government that had attracted negative media coverage for irregularities, ghost schools and ghost students.

However, in the second tenure, after the appointment of a new managing director, the foundation was completely overhauled and most of the projected schools were established during his tenure.