Pakistan Tehrik I Insaf (PTI) led Federal Government has presented its 3rd budget. For the very first time, they have increased the Higher education budget up to Rs 15 billion against the budget they presented in 2020. As per the budget documents, the total allocation for higher education including development and non-development was Rs 108 billion including Rs 42.2 billion for development and Rs 66.25 billion for the non-development expenditure of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
There are around 127 ongoing and 39 new development schemes are included in the development budget of Rs 42.4 billion.There was a demand for a huge increase in the HEC budget by universities and HEC for the last couple of years. Although the government has increased the development budget there was no serious increase in the non-development budget which is used for the salaries of employees of HEC and universities. For the fiscal year, 2020-21 government allocated Rs 64.1 billion and for 2021-22 government allocated Rs 66.25 billion.
HEC’s recurring budget was Rs63.1 billion in 2017-18, Rs65.02 billion in 2018-19, Rs64.1 billion in 2019-20. The same allocation of Rs64.1 billion in 2020-21 means the recurring budget remained almost stagnant.The non-development budget is meant for 138 public sector universities with 92 sub-campuses.
The budget document further explained the new scheme which also included the centres of Sufism. Rs 100 million are allocated for the establishment of the Institute of Sufism and Mysticism at Bahauddin Zakariya University.
Whereas Rs350 million for Kamyab Jawan Sports Academies and Youth Olympic at HEC, Rs525 million for the establishment of a technology park at Sukkur IBA University, Rs300 million for Fullbright scholarship Support Programme HEC-USAID.
Rs411 million has been allocated to strengthen Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Rs375 million has been allocated for strengthening Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, Rs300 million for the construction of an academic block at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Rs300 million for the construction of the main campus of Khushal Khan Khattak University, Rs575 million for construction of two new departments at Quest Nawabshah; Rs600 million for development of essential needs for establishment of Government College University, Hyderabad, and Rs300 million for development of Government College University Lahore campus at Kala Shah Kaku.
Other allocations are Rs375m for the development of the University of Okara, Rs200m for enhancement of academic facilities at NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, and Rs400m for the establishment of Comsats University at Kot Addu.
For the outgoing fiscal year, the federal government had earmarked Rs93 billion for the HEC – Rs29b for development and Rs64b for non-development schemes.
Furthermore, the government also allocated Rs 9.7 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the ongoing and new schemes of the Federal Education and Professional Training for the fiscal year 2020-21. According to the budget documents, a total of Rs 9.087 billion has been earmarked for ongoing schemes and Rs 612.889 million for the new schemes of the Education Ministry.
Among the ongoing schemes, Rs 200 million has been allocated for the establishment of Directorate General of Religious Affairs (DGRE), Rs 213.60 million for setting up Islamabad Model College for Boys G/13-2, and Rs 118.441 million for Islamabad Model College for Boys G-15, Rs 140 million for the establishment of Islamabad Model College for Girls G-13/1 and Rs 253 million for the establishment of Islamabad Model College for Girls G-14/4. Similarly, Rs 105 million has been allocated for the establishment of the National Curriculum Council (NCC) Secretariat.
The government has also allocated a hefty amount of Rs 5000 million for Prime Ministers Special Package to Implement “Skills for All Strategy” as a catalyst for TVET sector development in Pakistan. However, an amount of Rs 1 billion has been earmarked for the Response, Recovery and Resilience Plan for COVID-19 (GPE Grant).
Among the new schemes, Rs 409 million has been earmarked for the provision of basic educational (missing) facilities in educational institutions of ICT under FDE, Rs 106 million for the introduction of B.S, Ed (Hons.) 4 years programme at Federal College of Education H/9, Islamabad, Rs 50 million for Visual Arts Centre of Excellence (VACE), Gilgit-Baltistan-National College of Arts (feasibility study).