Home Views & Opinions The vicious circle: Poor economy-education-economy

The vicious circle: Poor economy-education-economy

1924
0

Finally, the budget is public, now, and all the associated rumours, expectations, fears, and speculations have got either evaporated or solid with the heat of the stark realities. So far as the Education sector’s improvement and growth is concerned, the hopes and expectations of the masses, in general, and the teachers, students and parents, in particular, have got evaporated and their fears have become moulded into a solid structure like a statue of obscurity standing in front of and laughing at them. We are still mired neck-deep into the vicious circle of poor economy-poor education-poor economy, but our rulers are not realising this life-threatening situation, despite being exposed to unprecedented economic challenges and the consequential threats to their government.
Switching onto the actual proposition, the incumbent government has allocated Rs. 83.363 billion for Education Affairs and Services in the federal budget for 2020-21 against the revised provision of Rs. 81.253 billion for the current fiscal year, displaying a trivialrise of around 2.5 percent.Here, it is pertinent to mention that the country’s public expenditure on education as a percentage to GDP is estimated at 2.3 percent in the fiscal year 2019-20, and it is the lowest in the region. Keeping in view this regretful scenario, how can we even imagine to touch the lowest level of a promising economy’s indicators in the coming decades, setting aside the thought of years? We have to go a long long way to trace our destination after undergoing the intricate ups and downs of a tedious expedition on the stormy tides of the troubled waters; however, unfortunately, we have not decided yet to embark on our voyage.
Focusing on the details of the figures, the major amount of Rs. 70.741 billion has been assigned to Tertiary Education Affairs and Services in budget 2020-21, which is 84.9 percent of the total allocation under this head.The government has earmarked Rs. 2.931 billion for pre-Primary & Primary Education Affairs for 2020-2 against Rs. 2.83 billion for 2019-20, Rs. 7.344 billion earmarked for Secondary Education Affairs & Services for 2020-21 against Rs. 6.718 billion for 2019-20, Rs. 1.237 billion for administration against Rs. 1.407 billion for 2019-20 which was later revised to Rs. 727 million.After casting a look on the above-cited statistics, one must realise that we are advancing towards a blind alley and saving money at the expense of the education of our society will add to our economic depravity and agony, turning into a sheer loss. The need of the hour is to start generously investing on our education to sustain our heavily declining economic stability.
Coming to the Higher Education, the picture is even darker as the government has improvedonly to an insignificant level by reservingRs. 64 billion for the next fiscal year for the higher education sector, in comparison to the previous year’s budget that was Rs. 59 billion.Here, one must keep in mind that, after the 18th constitutional amendment, education as a subject has been devolved to the provinces, and the federal government is mainly responsible for taking care ofonly higher education. Time and again, in my articles, I have laid stress on the dire need of developing the up-to-the-minute and technologically well-equipped education centres that can bring forth skilled and vocationally and professionally trained youth to meet the challenges of the modern-era knowledge-based economic and industrial sectors. We have already crossed the saturation point of the state-owned employment organisations/institutions on the basis of general education.
Even a cursory glance at our socio-economic conditions can lay bare the fact that, among other dynamics, illiteracy and the lack of professional and skilled youth are the most prominent factors behind our economic penury. So, how can a nation improve or develop its economy on modern and successful lines when it gives very little importance to the education and professional training of its masses? I would like to conclude with this short, but unfathomably deep quotation.
“Higher Education is the strongest, sturdiest ladder to increased socio-economic mobility”(Drew Faust, President Harvard University)