Friday, 14 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Budget allocation for education falls short of expectations

Published : Tuesday, 11 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 202

Budget allocation for education falls short of expectations

Budget allocation for education falls short of expectations

Every year, the budget season initiates thorough deliberations and consultations regarding the anticipated outcomes for the education sector. However, in practice, these discussions often do not live up to expectations. The budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, which was presented to the National Assembly on Thursday, is no different. Although there has been a rise in the allocation for the education sector in comparison to the previous year, it still falls short in relation to the sectors crucial significance and requirements. The importance given to education in this budget has decreased in comparison to previous years, despite its prominent mention in the Finance Ministers budget speech. The education sector has been allocated Tk 94.711 billion in the proposed budget of Tk 7.97 trillion.

The budget speech, which includes current data on many industries, is more appealing than the actual appropriations. This years address divided the education sector into three categories: basic and mass education, secondary and higher education, and technical and madrasa education, with a focus on developing competent human resources.

In the primary and mass education sector, he noted that the Finance Minister referred to primary schooling as a foundation. He addressed the governments recent actions like nationalization of educational institutions, recruitment of teachers and establishment of multimedia classrooms. The proposed allocation for this sector is Tk 38.819 billion compared to Tk 34.722 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. Introduction of new curriculum, teacher training, projects for higher education development and support for special needs children including those with autism were among issues covered under secondary and higher education segment of speech by finance minister.The Finance Minister also mentioned Prime Ministers Education Assistance Trust stipends The proposed allocation for secondary and higher education is TK 44.108 billion which was TK 42.839 billion in this fiscal year Technical ad madrasa education department emphasized on enrolling more students into technical education with high hopes of generating significant employment opportunities via appropriate trainings .The speech also touched on modernizing madrasa education by the government in its quest to embrace changes in technology that have engulfed the world today .Tk 11.783 billion has been proposed for this direction, an increase from Tk 10.602 billion last year .
Budget allocation for education falls short of expectations

Budget allocation for education falls short of expectations

Despite the discussions, the increases in allocations are minor and frequently serve as a symbol of purpose rather than a commitment. The education sector continues to get insufficient funding, despite repeated appeals from education advocates for 4 to 6 percent of GDP or 20% of the entire budget. This years allotment is only 1.7 percent of GDP, continuing a long-term decline.

Bangladesh falls behind other South Asian countries in education spending as a proportion of GDP. For instance, Bhutan invested 8.14 percent of its GDP in education in 2022, whereas Maldives and Nepal allotted 4.58 percent and 3.65 percent, respectively. Despite the rhetoric of emphasizing education, the real budget allocations portray a different tale. Implementing the new curriculum, indicated in the Finance Ministers address, raises serious issues concerning teacher preparation. Effective curriculum implementation is tough without sufficient training, and teachers wages remain low, especially at the basic level. Adequate funding allocations might boost teachers quality of life and, subsequently, the quality of education. The school budget should also focus alleviating students and parents. Last years VAT on pens and the increased expenses of educational goods, such as paper, notebooks, and pencils, have additional financial hardships. Budget instructions to reduce these expenditures would benefit all stakeholders in education. The Finance Minister announced that the literacy rate is at 76.8 percent. However, there is still a sizable illiterate population that demands rapid attention and appropriate money to expand literacy.

From a sociological standpoint, this underfunding reinforces educational inequality and restricts social mobility. Adequate investment in education is vital for breaking the cycle of poverty, strengthening underprivileged populations, and establishing an equitable society. Without sufficient investment, inequities in educational access and quality would remain, restricting possibilities for many and harming the nations overall growth.

Lastly, while the government claims to value education, the financial allocations fail to reflect this commitment. To really improve human resource development, adequate and sufficient allocation is necessary, going beyond standard financial increments.

The writer is Officer at Office of Research, North South University and Post-Graduate in Sociology from the University of Dhaka

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