An educational pre-budget 2022-23 seminar was held under the All-Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) presided by Central President Kashif Mirza. Addressing the participants of the seminar, Mirza Kashif Ali said that APPSF recommended to Federal and Provincial governments allocate and spend a minimum of 5% of GDP and budget for education and sports. Mirza Kashif Ali also stressed that without the promotion of quality education and healthy sports.

APPSF presented recommendations to the Prime Minister and all the CMs of the provinces prepared by Central Council APPSF for pre-budget 2022-23 for education and sports, as under:

The APPSF-Federation recommended to Federal & Provincial governments to allocated and spend minimum 5% of GDP on education and research for schools and higher education sector in the new budget keeping in view the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation rate. Out of that 25 percent of the budget should go to higher education and the rest 75 percent be spent on schools, colleges and technical education. The government should announce tax amnesty and exemption for 5-year for investing in education sector, so that new schools, colleges, universities, technical and vocational institutes can be established.

Unless steered with a purpose, the rapid advance of science and technology may widen inequities, exacerbate social fragmentation and accelerate resource depletion. That the government spending on school education remained less than $100, and on higher education remained less than $250 per student per year. We have to fix and enhance heavy budget for research, science and technology. That the education sector cannot sustain itself due to COVID without a significant increase in funding, therefore, an announcement of a special relief package in the upcoming budget should be made. That in the last five years, the recurring budget remained stagnant and faced block allocations, so the recurring budget should be raised and be saved from the block allocations.

APPSF also recommended for education emergency, allocation of funds for indigenous COVID-19 vaccination production and up-gradation of laboratories, announcement of special relief package for the education sector amid COVID-19 pandemic.

APPSF further recommended to allocate special budget to vaccinate all the children and teachers on a priority basis, and also to provide free laptops, net facilities along with devices to the students, to avoid any further educational loss in future. That the government should announce a relief package and interest free loans for teachers and low-cost private schools, that the continuous closure of private schools across the country has hurt owners as almost 10,000 schools across the country have been shut down and around 700,000 teachers have become unemployed.

A budget should be fixed to eliminate menace of child labor, that according to UNICEF, the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic had proven to be counter-productive while as many as 40 million children in Pakistan were affected due to schools’ shut down, and most of them children were compelled for child labor. The establishment of special education fund, provision of internet devices to the students, provision for establishing new schools, colleges and universities with proper qualified faculty and funding, promoting culture of intelligent classrooms, sufficient funding for continuous faculty development programs and paying special attention towards social sciences and skill-based learning were also among the recommendations.

APPSF also vowed and ready to undertake collaborative efforts to support and assist the government by adopting an innovative approach to overcome challenges being faced by the education sector.

APPSF recommended the expansion of matric-tech programs in schools across Pakistan to provide technical training at matric level. At least 25 percent of all schools and colleges should be converted to high level technical schools and colleges with foreign collaboration to ensure high quality skilled workers, and 25,000 students should be sent on scholarships for PhD to top 500 universities abroad annually to pursue emerging technologies.

APPSF further suggested major national programs for technology parks, promotion of innovation & entrepreneurship, funding for knowledge economy task force projects in emerging areas of industrial and agricultural importance, promotion of high-tech manufacturing, value added exports through appropriate policies and incentives.

The APPSF further recommended, involvement of stakeholders and end users across Pakistan in policy formulation process, equal opportunities of scholarships, research, grants & faculty training for public & private sector, one window facility for issuance of registration, NOC & accreditation of academic institutions & programs in order to avoid unnecessary delays.

APPSF also stressed respecting autonomy of the educational institutions, and for teaching & research community, establishment of contributory fund for payment of pensions, encouraging role of private sector in education sector, revival of indigenous scholarship program and special grants for mobility of sharing expertise, existing facilities, experience and knowledge.

Author

Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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