Education budget fails to address learning losses


With the education sector being hit hard by Covid-19 over the past couple of years, experts are of the view that the proposed budget of Tk 6,78,064crore which stipulates 12.01% as total education expenditure for the 2022-23 financial year, will not be enough to remedy the learning losses suffered by students.

The allocation for education is yet less than 2% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), which is far lower than any other country in South Asia.

Experts suggest that the allocation for the sector should increase in line with an appropriate education roadmap.

UNESCO prescribes an expenditure of 6% of GDP in the education sector. As such, the proposed budget for the sector is well below the requirement.

The allocation for education only, excluding technology, is Tk 81,449 crore for the 2022-23 financial year, an increase from Tk 71,974 crore for the 2021-22 financial year.

In the proposed budget, Tk 31,761 crore has been allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, with Tk 39,961 crore for Secondary and Higher Education Division, Tk 9,727 crore for Technical Division and Madrasa, Tk 16,613 crore for the Ministry of Science and Technology and Tk 1,916 crore for the ICT division.

Rasheda K Chowdhury, executive director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), a non-governmental organization, expressed disappointment with the stipend given the learning losses suffered by students during the pandemic.

She said the academic loss was due to a suspension of in-person classes, especially in areas that were lagging behind in the use of technology.

Closing the gap requires a much larger allocation in the sector, she suggested.

Furthermore, there is no roadmap for pre-primary education and the budget neglects TMED while there has been talk of modernizing it, she added.

She also said the government has still not been able to resume the food meal project. “We wanted an allocation for education as a single sector, but it is always associated with ICT,” she complained.

The government had said it was working to ensure 100% enrollment at the primary level, alleviate pupils’ hunger by meeting their daily nutritional needs, reduce the dropout rate under the project titled “Food education in poverty-stricken areas,” according to the budget. profile.

Professor Shaikh Ekramul Kabir, member of Education Policy 2010, suggested that the government use the allowances properly so that both rural and urban areas reap the benefits.

Syed Manzoorul Islam, a former professor of English at the University of Dhaka, said the stipend had been increased slightly, but still fell short of expectations in terms of boosting education in line with the new education policy .

A total allocation of Tk 9,495 crore has been proposed for the education sector in the coming financial year as compared to the previous financial year.

Online entertainment

A total of 15,676 out of 20,499 high schools and 700 out of 4,238 colleges across the country have introduced online courses. The implementation of the project, titled “Expansion of Science Education Opportunities in Government Colleges”, has started constructing 2,607 classrooms, including multimedia classrooms, 200 language and ICT labs, 1,000 science labs , 46 furnished hostels, office equipment and ICT. equipment in 200 government colleges across the country.

Another project, ‘Development of Public Secondary Schools’, which aims to strengthen capacity development and improve the quality of education and three projects are underway for the establishment of the Aviation University and Aerospace of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, conducting feasibility study of Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Science & Technology University and establishment of Khulna Agricultural University. In addition, 43 projects are implemented for the further development of various public universities.

Cover learning losses

According to the budget documents, the government broadcasts the “Learning at Home” program through Parliament Television, Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and Community Radio to keep students focused on their studies even after school reopens. ‘school.

A total of 12,000 classrooms were built in fiscal year 2021-2022. Introduction of e-book, establishment of Upazila ICT training and resource centers and conversion of a private school into a model school in every 315 Upazila have been implemented.

However, the government has taken action under the National Research Grant for Science and Technology (NST) amounting to Tk 137.76 crore for 22,220 students and researchers and grants amounting to 189, Tk 10 crore for 6,362 research projects to cultivate science and for research and technological innovation.

Bangladesh lags behind other South Asian countries

According to the Global Education Monitoring Report, in terms of GDP expenditure in 2020, Bangladesh spent 2.09% of its GDP on education last year, while Nepal spent 4% , Sri Lanka 2.2%, Bhutan 7.36% Afghanistan, 5.6%, India 3.1%, Maldives 5.2% and Pakistan 2.6%.

15% tax imposed on private universities and colleges

The government continues to impose a 15% tax on private universities, private medical schools, private dental schools, private engineering schools or private colleges solely dedicated to teaching ICT.

APUB President Sheikh Kabir Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune that private universities are non-profit organizations and no taxes should be imposed on education. The government must reconsider its decision.

In 2015, the government imposed a 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on private university and college tuition fees.


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