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Budget 2024-25

Government allocation for education should be increased

Editorial  Desk

Editorial Desk

Wed, 12 Jun 24

Education is considered as a cornerstone for the development of civilization and the enhancement of human resources. Therefore, in order to establish a consensus-based education system in advanced countries, their governments are compelled to increase expenditure in this sector. In our country, the government is also striving to bring about qualitative changes, including increasing expenditure in this sector, with the aim of ensuring a consensus-based education system. However, due to various problems and crises, including insufficient allocation in the government budget for education, the desired goals in the country's education system have not yet been achieved.

Various individuals and organizations related to education have been demanding allocation of 20 percent of the national budget for education for a long time. However, for the upcoming fiscal year, a proposal of 94,710 crore taka has been made for the Ministry of Education, Primary and Mass Education, which is not even 12 percent. Although the proposed allocation is more than 6,000 crore taka compared to the previous budget, in terms of inflation, this 6,000 crore taka increase is insignificant.

A UNESCO research report has stated that despite significant progress in access to education in South Asia, investment in education by governments remains inadequate. In Bangladesh, education expenditure accounts for 71 percent of families with students. Except for Bhutan, other countries in this region have never spent more than 15 percent of total government expenditure or 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education. Bangladesh has spent less than 2.5 percent of its total GDP on education. However, according to experts, in developing countries like Bangladesh, it is necessary to allocate around 7 percent of the total domestic production to education.

Despite the increase in expenditure on education in the country, there is no end to the allegations of quality issues. Even though the government provides free textbooks up to the secondary level, students are increasingly resorting to coaching, which adds to the expenses. Due to extensive allegations of declining standards of education in schools, students are increasingly turning to private tutors, tuition centers, and coaching classes. Concerned parties allege that due to the lack of comprehensive planning and proper management in education spending, this situation has arisen. Apart from that, the cost of education in private educational institutions in the country is significantly higher than in government educational institutions. Therefore, many families have to take loans or sell assets to accumulate funds for their children's education. In terms of family-based expenses, this rate is among the highest in the world.

In the third chapter of our constitution, it is stated that education and cultural rights will be equally enjoyed by all citizens of the country. However, what do we actually see? Generally, not everyone has equal access to education opportunities. Moreover, disparities are even more pronounced in specialized and higher education in the country. In short, a large segment of the population in the country is deprived of education due to excessive education expenses. As a result, those students whose families have more money can afford to purchase quality education. However, providing affordable education for citizens is a national commitment.

In Bangladesh, the education system falls under the jurisdiction of two ministries: the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, and the Ministry of Education. The division of responsibilities for primary and secondary education between these two ministries leads to disjointed perspectives on education, hindering cohesive planning. Therefore, there is a need for a unified ministry and leadership for education. Additionally, there is no alternative to a permanent education commission.

For decades, there have been numerous discussions and criticisms regarding the education system in the country. Billions of dollars have been invested in various projects in this sector. Training programs have been conducted as well, but the harsh reality remains that the quality of education is gradually declining compared to international standards.

Education should be practical and productive. In this regard, the most emphasis should be placed on research in the field of education. However, our country's education system suffers from many limitations and disparities. There is a lack of quality educational institutions and teachers. Additionally, there are allegations of nepotism and partisan political considerations in teacher recruitment. Therefore, it is necessary to allocate the desired budget and ensure proper management to truly transform the present and future generations into genuine human resources through consensus-based education. Additionally, efforts can be made to promote education loans and educational insurance. Overall, there is no alternative to increasing government investment in all educational mediums in the country.

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