Pre-Budget Policy Dialogue on
‘Effectiveness of Education Financing for FY 2013-14’
1. Introduction
Pakistan has been spending in the range of 1.8 percent to 2.7 percent of its GDP on education
over the years. This percentage is too low, when compared with other South Asian countries.
Moreover, public financing of education as a share of GDP is also declining.1 Notwithstanding
the low share of GDP to education, Pakistan’s position has improved in some key educational
indicators over the last three years. Literacy rate has increased from 67 to 69, Net Enrollment
Rate (NER) from 60 to 61 and a marked improvement in enrollment at middle, high, higher
secondary and higher education has been recorded.2 There is no denying the fact that in order to
provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years3,
appropriate and sufficient allocations to education along with effective utilization of available
resources is inevitable. The National Education Policy 2009, identifying major deficiencies and
gaps in current system and outlining an ambitious and holistic strategy, envisages a dedication of
7 percent of GDP to education till 2015.4 However, seeing the current trends and national
priorities, the envisaged allocation appears to be a farfetched dream. Concurrently, another
important challenge in this regard is inadequate and un-informed resource allocations under
different budget lines.
An analysis of provincial education budgets of Punjab reveals some important findings and
trends. First, the allocation for education has been increased consistently by more than 10 percent
since 2007-08. The only exception is 2009-10 when the provincial education budget was cut by
10 percent. Secondly, utilization has not improved as much as the allocation. In every year since
2007-08, about a quarter of the allocation has remained unspent. In 2010-11, however, the
utilization has improved significantly by 17 percent5. Despite the improvements in the
allocations and expenditures in the Provincial education budgets, this commitment has to be
translated into improved utilization of the allocated budgets and the challenges still remain to be
addressed. Analyses of the education budgets have noted that budgetary allocations are generally
not leveraged against the major challenges like access and quality of education, showing a sharp
disconnect between the two. In addition, the resources that are actually spent on a student, as
opposed to allocations, remain low due to high administrative expenditures, system-wide
leakages of resources, and poor oversight mechanisms.
On the other hand, the introduction of Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment Act 2010 has not
only brought forth significant shift in education governance in Pakistan and holds major
implications for the country’s education system, it has also made education a right of every child
1 Finance Division (2010). Pakistan Economic Survey, 2009-10. Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.
2 Ibid., pp, 146-147.
3 Section 9 of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010 (X of 2010), inserted Article 25-A in the
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 (w.e.f. April 19, 2010).
4 Ministry of Education (2009). National Education Policy, 2009. Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.
Public financing of education in Pakistan, Analysis of Federal and Provincial Budgets 2011-12, Institute of Social and Policy
and not just a privilege. According to Article 25-A of the 1973 Constitution, the State shall
provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such
manner as may be determined by law6. Compliance to Article 25-A requires a policy shift in the
way resources for the education sector are allocated and utilized.
The above situation highlights that a myriad of problems have hindered progress in the education
sector. Keeping this in view, I-SAPS has been actively working on helping to improve
effectiveness of public spending in education sector under its Effective Education Budget
Initiative (EEBI) with the support from UK Department for International Development (DFID).
In this regards, we are undertaking public finance analysis and conducting policy advocacy
through dialogues and consultations with a view to contributing towards system and process
improvement by providing evidence-base and informed policy options.
2. Aim and Objectives
The broad aim of this dialogue is to facilitate an informed debate on education budget. It would
also present proposals and suggestions to facilitate the policy makers in order to improve
allocations for education in the budgets for the year 2013-14. Specific objectives of policy
dialogue are as follows:
a. Provide the much needed interface between government officials, public representatives and
civil society for facilitating debate on effective resource allocations for the education sector
along with a critical revisit of the associated governance issues;
b. Propose a set of recommendations for effective education budget tracking by
parliamentarians, members of relevant standing committees, media and civil society;
3. Topics to be covered by Speakers
The speakers and discussants in the policy dialogue will include experts in the areas of
education, budgeting and political economy. The topics to be covered in the policy dialogue
1. Punjab: Challenges of Quality Education
2. Analysis of the Punjab Education Budget and Recommendations for Budget 2013-14
4. Participants
The participants of policy dialogue will comprise the key stakeholders i.e. parliamentarians,
members of standing committees on education, representatives of Departments of finance,
education and Planning and Development, academics, civil society organizations, and media.
5. Follow-up
I-SAPS is holding these dialogues on education financing in Pakistan with a view to creating and
sustaining a vibrant interface between civil society, public representatives and government
officials for better allocations and effective utilizations for education. In addition to more issuebased
dialogues, I-SAPS will provide department-specific recommendations and facilitate the
departments for improving education financing.
6 Section 9 of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010 (10 of 2010), inserted a new Art. 25A, after Art. 25 of the
Constitution, (w.e.f. April 19, 2010).

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