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Government urged to increase budget for girls’ education

Government urged to increase budget for girls’ education

LAHORE: Emphasizing on the need of sufficient allocation of annual budget for girls’ education the education experts have demanded the Punjab government increase financing in education sector.

A press release issued by Awaz CDS Pakistan said the recommendations and concerns were put forward by the leading education experts during a pre-budget consultation meeting in Punjab with particular focus on girl’s education, organised by the Awaz CDS Pakistan in collaboration with Education Champions Network Pakistan and Pakistan Coalition for Education. The purpose was to enable practitioners and experts to share their recommendations for the budget allocation at the provincial level and become a part of the budget making process.

Pre-budget consultative meeting brought together government officials, experts, civil society representatives, prominent academics to provide input in the upcoming Punjab budget 2022-23.

The panelists included Professor of Economics at University of Central Punjab Lahore, Prof Dr Qais Aslam, CEO of Rah-Centre for Management and Development, Fauzia Viqar, Additional Secretary (Budget & Planning) School Education Department Punjab, Qaiser Rashid, Director General (Parliamentary Affairs & Research) Punjab Assembly, Inayat Ullah Lak, MPA and Chairperson Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, Uzma Kardar.

CEO Awaz CDS Pakistan, Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman called for enhancing the capacities of departments at district level so they can utilise and report the budgets efficiently. He also advocated to notify and implement free and compulsory education Act in Punjab.

Zehra Arshad, Executive Director Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), emphasized the need to put extra effort in education sector from allocations to spending.

Marium Amjad of Awaz CDS-Pakistan highlighted the steps needed to be taken not just for increasing girls’ enrolment but also their retention in schools. Some of the key recommendations focused around awareness raising on the importance of girls’ education, ensuring safe environment, investing in teachers’ trainings, introducing innovations in the field of education and making the education system resilient.

Ayesha Iqbal, MPA, suggested to take all PEIMA and PEF schools under one umbrella to minimise the expenses on bureaucracy and other unnecessary expenditures. She added that it would also help in making systems accountable.

Uzma Kardar, MPA and Chairperson Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, said that planning budgets from gender lense is very important. She appreciated the concept of Insaf Afternoon Schools and suggested “girls-friendly toilets”.

Dr Qais Aslam of UCP suggested that the government should build more schools at all levels with modern facilities and upgrade existing schools from primary to high schools. He emphasised that textbooks should encourage research-based gender sensitive, environment sensitive and productivity orientated knowledge.

Qaisar Rashid, Additional Secretary (Budget & Planning) School Education Department Punjab, stressed on the importance of quality education and shared that the government was serious about STEM education and the Ed-tech policy was also approved which would help in training teachers on blended learning.

Representatives from NGOs, academia, school councils, lawyers and youths gave their inputs during an open session.

Fauzia Viqar, CEO of Rah-Centre for Management and Development, concluded the session and suggested that the role of parliamentarians was very important and they should be given ample time to review and debate on budgets. She suggested GIS mapping should be introduced in all private schools to make teachers accountable and to avoid ghost schools. She called for increasing the number of special education schools and judicious budgets should be allocated to them.

Source: The News

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