13% hike in education budget by Punjab Government

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LAHORE: The Punjab government has announced a significant increase of 13 per cent in education budget for the 2024-25 fiscal, allocating a sum of Rs669.74 billion.

This includes Rs 65.50 billion for development expenditure and Rs 604.24 billion for current expenses.

The government has sanctioned Rs 42.50 billion for development schemes in school education. This budget will be used to renovate dilapidated school buildings and provide other basic facilities. New classrooms will be added, IT labs will be established and afternoon schools project will also be initiated.

In a bid to improve the quality of education, the government has launched the Public Schools Re-organisation Programme (PSRP) under the Punjab Education Foundation. This programme, a public-private partnership, aims to launch an enrollment campaign, recruit new teachers to address the shortage in schools, and approach entrepreneurs, volunteers, Ed-Tech firms, and civil society for the provision of better education facilities. The Education Foundation has been allocated Rs 26.25 billion, a 7pc increase from last year.

The government has also allocated Rs 2.50 billion for the Daanish Schools Programme, which provides quality education to the downtrodden and underprivileged sections of society. The Punjab Education Endowment Fund, launched by the PML-N government, has risen to Rs 16.25 billion. The fund was established to provide financial assistance to brilliant students who should not be left behind due to lack of resources. The government has sanctioned Rs 100 million for this fund.

The government has sanctioned a development budget of Rs 17 billion for higher education. Initiatives include starting an undergraduate scholarship programme for brilliant students, providing laptops, establishing a National University in Murree, and improving facilities in other colleges of the province.

For special education, Rs 2 billion has been allocated for development programmes. Buses will be provided for the transportation of specially-abled persons, and buildings will be constructed for specialeducationinstitutes.

The government has allocated Rs 4 billion for Literacy and Non-Formal Education. With the help of other departments, Adult Literacy Centers will be established for the 36,000 illiterate persons. A Non-formal Education projectwill also be established in remote areas of the province.

Punjab Minister for School Education, Rana Sikandar Hayat, stated that a total of Rs 669 billion have been allocated in the current budget for all these matters, and their transparent use willbe ensured in all circumstances.

He added that a laptop scheme is being launched at a cost of Rs 10 billion, a school meal programme is being started at a cost of Rs 1 billion, and Rs 2.5 billion have been allocated to expand the Danish School project.

Mr Hayat further stated that Rs 100 million have been allocated for the Punjab Education Endowment Fund. On the other hand, measures are being taken for digital progress to produce a large number of IT professionals.

He said that a clear difference will be seen in education in the next two years.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 14th June 2024.

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