In a true sense, budget allocation for education sector hasn’t increased
Dr. Syed Manzoorul Islam, Professor, Dept. of English, Dhaka University : In a true sense, there has not been any increase in the allocation for the education sector in the proposed budget.
This fiscal year, over Tk 2,500 crore has been allocated in the budget for education compared to the previous. However, we have to remember that more than one thousand educational institutions are getting MPO-listed. This is the government’s promise.
A large amount is being spent for this MPO enlistment. Year after year, we are saying that education is the most prioritized sector. But is this true? I do not believe so. In a true sense, budget allocation for the education sector has not increased at all; rather it is the same as the last fiscal year.
It is a worldwide standard that 25% of the budget or 6% of GDP is spent on education. In the year 2000, Bangladesh was one of the countries that signed the DACA Declaration. According to that agreement, 6% of GDP has to be spent on the education sector. However, we are nowhere near that amount and instead stuck at 2%. Sometime in the past, the budget had an allocation of 15% for the education sector, but that level has fallen now. A total of 14.6% has been allocated for both technology and education.
Lakhs of Bangladeshi laborers go abroad for work. They work very hard, doing jobs like cleaning roads, airports, etc. These workers send 15-16 billion dollars back to our country and a third of that gets taken away by the Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistani managers. Why does this happen? This is because the foreigners who work in our country are very skilled and we haven’t been able to produce managers as skilled as them. We cannot give our own citizens linguistic knowledge nor can we give worldly knowledge. We cannot even teach them life skills.
70% of Bangladesh’s population is now educated. Within 2025 or 2030 we will transform into a fully educated nation. We have to start taking steps immediately in order to prepare for the kind of pressure in educating such a population. Necessary allocations have to be made in the education sector. Necessary steps have to be taken to increment teachers’ wages. If a teacher cannot lead a stable life then how can he or she impart proper knowledge to students? How this allocation is used should be monitored as well.
Based on an interview by Ashiq Rahman, translated by Abrar Hussain