School education budget | PU massive cheating
School education to face Rs 5 billion budget cut
Lahore, April 28: The Punjab Schools Education Department is expected to face an unprecedented cut of five billion rupees in its development budget for the year 2010-2011, it is learnt.
Similarly, the province’s Higher Education Department has suffered a cut of two billion rupees, exposing tall claims of the Punjab government for promotion of education and provision of quality education to the students.
The Punjab government had allocated Rs 14.05 billion for the Schools Department and Rs 6.3 billion for the Higher Education Department under the Annual Development Programme 2010-2011.
According to sources privy to the developments, the Punjab government has so far released around nine billion rupees only for the Schools Department and around four billion rupees for the colleges department.
One of the excuses, the Punjab government has been floating for slashing the development budget is related to diversion of funds for relief and rehabilitation activities in the wake of record floods in different parts of the province in 2010.
However, it is also being alleged that, owing to lack of capacity of the departments to utilize the funds, the same were released after severe cut. The sources also said there were almost no chances of further release of development budget as the fiscal year was going to close soon.
It is pertinent to mention that the Schools Department looks after affairs of over 60,000 public schools across the province while the Higher Education Department controls over 450 government colleges of the province.
The sources said a number of development schemes had to be dropped owing to severe cut in the development budget this fiscal year. It was likely the schemes would be included and reflected in the upcoming budget 2011-12, they added.
They said utilization of the released budget was better at the colleges department as compared with the schools department. They said that, at provincial level, the utilization at present was over 50 percent in the Schools Department.
They said that, at the colleges department, the utilization was around 70 percent which was likely to touch 80 percent by the end of the current fiscal year.
It is learnt that, owing to slashed budget, a scheme related to revamping/ strengthening of existing science laboratories of high/ higher secondary schools and another related to provision of computer networking and furniture for IT Labs in elementary schools had been dropped.
The Higher Education Department’s Additional Secretary (Planning), Bilal Ahmad, confirmed that only around four billion rupees had been released so far.
To a question, he said the Punjab government had also made a block allocation of over Rs 550 million during the current fiscal year.
Schools secretary Muhammad Aslam Kamboh also confirmed that around nine billion rupees had been released so far. He, however, claimed that the budget for fourth quarter was yet to be released.
To a question as to how the budget could be released and utilized as the current fiscal year was going to end in June 2011, the secretary said once released the amount could be utilized later on.
He also claimed that the budget was slashed as funds were diverted towards relief and rehabilitation activities in the wake of large scale destruction by floods in different parts of the province. The news