NEW DELHI: A new report states that Pakistan, despite having seen increase in the 2015-16 education budget, has the lowest figures when it comes to education spending in South Asia. ‘The Public Financing of Education in Pakistan (2010-11 to 2015-16)’ was released by the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS).

The report, which follows six previous reports, analyses the federal, provincial and district tier budgets not only as aggregated allocations and expenditures from 2010-11 to 2015-16 but also examines the budget at functional (primary, secondary and higher education) and operational (salary and non-salary budgets) levels.

As such, it notes that the share of education in total provincial budgets is declining except for Balochistan.

Excerpts from the report:

This year, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has allocated the highest share of its provincial budget for education, i.e., 25 percent. The other three provinces have each earmarked 20 percent of their overall budgets for education in 2015-16. It is worth mentioning that except for Balochistan, the share of education has been on the decline. The share of education has declined from 26 percent of total budget in 2013-14 to 20 percent in 2015-16 for Punjab. For Sindh, it has gone down from 23 percent of its total budget in 2013-14 to 20 percent this year whereas for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the decline has been 4 percent; from 29 percent of its total budget in 2013-14 to 25 percent in 2015-16. For Balochistan, an increase has been reported in the share of education over the last 3 years starting from 18 percent in 2013-14 to 20 percent of the total budget in 2015-16.

All the provinces have increased their education budgets this year compared with the allocated budget in 2014-15. The highest increase of 19 percent in allocations has been reported for Balochistan followed by 12 percent for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 percent for Punjab and 7 percent increase for Sindh.

The development budgets for education in case of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have been slashed by 15 percent in 2015-16 compared with previous year's allocated budgets. In 2014-15, the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had allocated Rs. 26.1 billion and Rs. 11.7 billion respectively for development purposes, however, these have been reduced to Rs. 22.2 billion and Rs. 10.02 billion respectively in 2015-16 presenting a decline of 15 percent in both cases.

Despite significant share of provincial budgets apportioned for education, a portion of the allocated budget remains unspent. In 2014-15, the government of Sindh spent only 79 percent of its education budget whereas for Punjab, 18 percent of the education budget remained unspent. The percentage expensed budget remained quite high in case of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (96 percent expenditure) and Balochistan (95 percent expensed budget).

Recurrent budget receives major share of the allocated budgets for all the provinces. The highest share of recurrent budget has been recorded for Sindh this year with an allocated share of 91 percent followed by Punjab with 85 percent of its education budget earmarked for the purpose. 81 percent of the education budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 79 percent of the total budget for Balochistan has been earmarked for recurrent budget in 2015-16.

Except for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the expenditure on development budget has been very low for the other three provinces in 2014-15. The lowest expensed budget has been reported for Punjab with only 46 percent of its development budget spent during 2014-15. Punjab is followed by Sindh with 58 percent expenditure and Balochistan with 64 percent of its development spent during the last fiscal year.

Salary budget consumes major share of the education budget in 2015-16 and there is not much earmarked for non-salary budgets. Considering the significance of nonsalary budget for operational expenditure of schools, the allocated budget for nonsalary purposes has been quite low. The highest share of non-salary budget has been seen for Sindh with an allocation of 23 percent of the recurrent budget earmarked for the purpose. Balochistan follows with a 15 percent share while Punjab has allocated 14 percent of its recurrent budget for non-salary budget in 2015-16. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has only allocated 9 percent of its recurrent budget for non-salary purposes this year.

Significant budgets have been allocated for teacher training in all the provinces in 2015-16. A total budget of Rs. 8.3 billion (all the four provinces combined) has been earmarked for the purpose this year. For Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the share of in-service teacher training budget is more than double than that allocated for preservice teacher training.

Read the full report: http://i-