A budget plan of Tk140,000 crore for FY19-20 in the education sector has been proposed
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has said that budget allocation for the education sector needs to be increased.
"Although the budget allocated for the education sector may seem enough, compared to other sectors, it is actually low," she said while addressing a seminar on "National budget and education sector", held at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Wednesday.
"It is important to increase the education sector’s budget, so the population can be turned into human resources," Dipu Moni said. "Because of this, the education sector needs to be given more importance while planning the budget."
A proposed budget plan of a total of Tk140,000 crore for the education sector was presented at the seminar, along with a proposal to bring non-government educational institutions – based on their quality – under the budget in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20.
In the plan, allocation of Tk55,000 crore for the primary, mass education and secondary education sector, Tk25,000 crore for the development sector, Tk30,000 crore for non-development sector, and Tk80,000 crore for higher secondary education, madrasa and higher education sectors, were proposed.
This means, 25% of the national budget and 7% of the national income have to be invested in the education sector.
With strong strides being made in the education sector, a demand was also made for education loans to continue the progress.
Dipu Moni said that the government's dream of bringing all children to school has been implemented.
“Now, we have to reduce the school dropout rate of children,” she said.
Recalling the contribution of the present government in the education sector, the minister said they have implemented several major projects in the last decade.
“A lot of money has been spent in implementing various projects, but the government's attention to education did not diminish,” she said.
Dipu Moni further said that there is need for a free lunch scheme to reduce dropouts in primary schools.
“Children have an incentive to come to school if lunch is provided. Mid-day meals are very important. We need to pay attention not only to food, but also to nutrition,” she said.
In her address, she requested adequate allocation in the budget for a “mid-day meal” project.
In the seminar, former vice chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique and Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Executive Director Rasheda K Chowdhury were also present.
Arefin Siddique emphasized on quality teaching by recruiting quality teachers, along with increasing the budget, so that no student can be victimized by their teachers like Nusrat Jahan Rafi, the alim examinee who was set on fire and killed for not withdrawing a sexual harassment case against her madrasa principal.
“Budget must be increased in the education sector. The educated people will have to build the country. Due to a shortage of well-educated people, girls like Nusrat have to face death after being persecuted,” he said.
Rasheda K Chowdhury emphasized on supplying nutritious food for school lunches, saying: “No one can learn while they are hungry.”
“Nutritious food must be supplied as mid-day meals to schools and not something with low-nutritional value, such as biscuits,” she said.