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8 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Education, tech get highest allocation

Experts pitch for 20pc allocation in education
Education, tech get highest allocation
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, still strong at 84 and serving as the finance minister of the country for 12 years under three governments, walks towards the parliament session chamber yesterday along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to place the national budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which is his personal 12th national budget placement, and the concluding budget of the current Awami League government. PMO Photo

Giving topmost priority to providing quality education, finance minister AMA Muhith yesterday proposed the highest allocation of Tk. 67,935 crore in the budget for FY2018-19  for the education and technology sectors. The allocation is 14.6 per cent of the total budget.

The government proposed an allocation of Tk. 53,054 crore for the next fiscal year for the  primary and mass education ministry and the education ministry.

To ensure quality education for all, the finance minister has proposed to allocate a total of Tk. 53,054 crore for the primary and mass education ministry,the  Secondary and Higher Education Division, and the Technical and Madrasa Education Division under the education ministry.

This was the second highest allocation in the next fiscal year for any particular sector, the minister noted.

However, experts said that the allocation for education should have been at least 20 per cent of the national budget and 6 per cent of the GDP.

Tabling a total budget of Tk. 464,573 crore before the House, the finance minister said that the government had always given priority to investing in education for sustainable and inclusive development. The education ministry has been allocated 5.36 per cent of the total budget, while and the primary and mass education ministry has got 4.84 per cent of the total budget in FY2018-19.

In his budget speech, Muhith said: “To ensure the provision of a technology-based modern education system, we plan to set up 64 livelihood- and lifelong-learning centres in 64 districts.”

Moreover, the government had taken steps to impart English

language proficiency training through the British Council and eliminate ‘math phobia’ by organising a Mathematics Olympiad for students, he noted.

The minister also said the government was working relentlessly to provide quality education for all through various programmes such as distribution of free textbooks among primary and secondary students. “To cope with the increasing demand, we will broaden the ongoing programmes by providing stipends, distributing free textbooks, introducing school meals and so on,” he added.

“In tandem with this, 7,000 primary schools with separate wash blocks for boys and girls

to ensure better environment for education, 65,000 classrooms, 10,500 teachers’ rooms and boundary walls in 5,000 schools will be constructed. Also, 30,000 pieces of sports goods will be distributed,” he said.

Muhith also said that the government would establish 1,000 more primary schools in areas without schools.

Underscoring quality education, the minister said the government was creating admission opportunities for around 200,000 students in 200 government colleges through a project titled ‘Expansion of Opportunity for Science Education in Government Colleges’ and for around 329,000 students in 323 secondary schools through another project titled ‘Development of Government Secondary School’ project.

He said that the problem of question paper leak had been viewed seriously by the government. “To ensure confidentiality in preparing question papers, we are trying to make a ‘question bank’ through integrated efforts of all education boards,” he added.

Laying emphasis on technical education, the minister said initiatives had been taken to set up “one technical school and college in each of 100 upazilas and technical training centres in the remaining 389 upazilas”.

The government had also taken steps to establish four polytechnic institutes for women in four divisional headquarters, one technical school for girls in each divisional headquarters, polytechnic institutes in 23 districts and one engineering college in each administrative division, the minister said.

In order to modernise madrasa education, the government had taken steps to establish 35 model madrasas and multimedia classrooms in 653 madrasas. It had also introduced honours courses in 52 madrasas, he said.

Regarding science and technology education, Muhith said the government was encouraging science- and technology-related research activities to build a science-savvy nation. “We’ve widened the coverage of science quiz contests and expanded it from the district to the upazila level to kindle student’ interest in science education.”

The minister allocated Tk. 12,200 crore for the science and technology ministry for the expansion of science and technology education.

“At least 20 per cent of the total budget is necessary for the education sector to make proper human resources and to compete with the world,” Rasheda K Chowdhury, executive director of Campaign for Popular Education, told The Independent yesterday.

“The quality of education is the prime target of the government, but the required allocation has to be increased for this,” she said.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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