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Higher Education Budget: Punjab Govt Seeks Enhanced Allocation

Higher Education Budget: Punjab Govt Seeks Enhanced Allocation

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LAHORE, Despite financial crunch in the higher education sector at the federal level, the Punjab government seems determined to get even bigger budget for development as well as non-development schemes in the higher education department.

The department has reportedly proposed Rs6.5 billion for the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the financial year 2010-11 against the Rs6.1 billion ADP for the current fiscal. Similarly, it has given an outlay of Rs11 billion for non-development for the next financial year against Rs8.8 billion for the current year.Of the proposed ADP allocation, the Punjab Higher Education Department has reportedly earmarked Rs4.2 billion for the ongoing schemes and Rs2.3 billion for the new ones.

The ongoing schemes include the construction of 56 new colleges across the province. In order to provide the missing facilities, the higher education department will be paying Rs100 million to the NLC for the provision of missing facilities in 138 colleges besides missing facilities schemes being carried out by the Communication and Works department in 80 colleges.

One of the major ongoing development schemes is the construction of academic blocks and other buildings at the University of Gujrat. This financial year, the university had received Rs650 million and was expected to get the second grant of Rs425 million in the next fiscal (2010-11). The varsity is expected to receive this sum of money for the next two financial years as well.

The department has allocated Rs400 million for support to universities, Rs500 million block allocation for colleges and Rs100 million for scholarships for students studying in professional education colleges.

As regards new development schemes, the department has decided to introduce four-year BS (Honours) programme in 26 colleges in the province at a cost of Rs400 million, set up computer labs in colleges with a budget of Rs400 million. The department has also proposed Rs200 million for the provision of postgraduate classes in all districts.

The department has reportedly also proposed Rs150 million for faculty development programme and around Rs30 million to pilot a project of science labs in colleges.

This year, the higher education department has proposed the setting up of a state-of-the-art modern resource centre in Murree. The centre will have library, labs and research facilities for scholars. One library has also been proposed in Toba Tek Singh after the name of former acting advocate-general Raza Farooq.

While, the department will be flourishing in Punjab, the public-sector universities in Punjab would be craving for funds to complete their ongoing development schemes as well.

The Higher Education Commission has informed the respective universities in the country that the federal government had massively slashed their budget and it would thinly fund the ongoing development schemes. While the new development schemes, though approved by all relevant bodies, would not be funded this year.

Academics believe that the suspension of funds in such an abrupt manner would halt the wheel of development activities in universities across the country.

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