APPSF Presents Pre-Budget Education Recommendations

A pre-budget education seminar 2022-23 was held under the All Pakistan Federation of Private Schools (APPSF) chaired by Central President Kashif Mirza. Addressing the participants of the seminar, Mirza Kashif Ali said that the APPSF recommends the federal and provincial governments to allocate and spend a minimum of 5% of GDP and budget for education and sports. Mirza Kashif Ali also pointed out that without the promotion of quality education and healthy sports.

The APPSF presented to the Prime Minister and all the CMs of the provinces recommendations prepared by the APPSF Central Council for the 2022-23 Education and Sports Pre-Budget, as follows:

The APPSF Federation has recommended that federal and provincial governments allocate and spend at least 5% of GDP on education and research for schools and the higher education sector in the new budget taking into account the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high rate of inflation. Of this budget, 25% should go to higher education and the remaining 75% to schools, colleges and technical education. The government should announce a tax amnesty and a 5-year exemption for investments in the education sector, so that new schools, colleges, universities, technical and vocational institutes can be established.

Unless guided by purpose, rapid advances in science and technology can deepen inequalities, exacerbate social fragmentation and accelerate resource depletion. That government spending for school education has remained below $100 and for higher education has remained below $250 per student per year. We must fix and increase the heavy budget for research, science and technology. That the education sector cannot sustain itself due to COVID without a significant increase in funding, therefore, an announcement of a special relief package in the upcoming budget should be made. That over the past five years, the recurrent budget has remained stagnant and faced global allocations, so the recurrent budget should be increased and preserved from global allocations.

APPSF also recommended for emergency of education, allocation of funds for indigenous production of COVID-19 vaccines and modernization of laboratories, announcement of special relief program for the health sector. education in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

APPSF further recommended allocating a special budget to vaccinate all children and teachers on a priority basis, and also providing free laptops, internet facilities as well as devices to students, to avoid any further loss of education in the future. That the government should announce a relief program and interest-free loans for teachers and low-cost private schools, that the continued closure of private schools across the country has hurt owners as nearly 10,000 schools across the countries have been closed and around 700,000 teachers have become unemployed.

A budget should be set to eliminate the threat of child labor, which according to UNICEF, school closures during the coronavirus pandemic have proven counterproductive as up to 40 million children in Pakistan have been affected due to school closures, and most of them have been forced to child labor. The creation of a special education fund, the provision of Internet devices to students, the creation of new schools, colleges and universities with qualified teachers and appropriate funding, the promotion of the culture of smart classrooms, a Adequate funding for ongoing faculty development programs and special attention to science and skills-based learning were also among the recommendations.

APPSF is also committed and ready to undertake collaborative efforts to support and assist the government in adopting an innovative approach to overcome the challenges facing the education sector.

APPSF has recommended the expansion of matrix technology programs in schools in Pakistan to provide technical training at the matrix level. At least 25% of all schools and colleges should be converted into high-level technical schools and colleges with foreign collaboration to ensure high-quality skilled workers, and 25,000 students should be sent annually on doctoral scholarships in the Top 500 universities abroad to pursue emerging technologies.

APPSF further suggested major national programs for technology parks, promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship, funding of knowledge economy task force projects in emerging areas of industrial importance. and agriculture, promoting high-tech manufacturing, value-added exports through appropriate policies and incentives.

APPSF further recommended the involvement of stakeholders and end users across Pakistan in the policy formulation process, equal opportunity in scholarships, research, grants and faculty training for public and private sectors, a one-stop shop for issuing registration, NOC and accreditation of academic institutions and programs to avoid unnecessary delays.

The APPSF also stressed respect for the autonomy of educational institutions and the teaching and research community, the creation of a contributory fund for the payment of pensions, the encouragement of the role of the private sector in the education sector, the revival of the indigenous scholarship program and special mobility grants for the sharing of expertise, existing facilities, experience and knowledge.

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