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Why the education sector in Bangladesh is so neglected

Why the education sector in Bangladesh is so neglected

A teacher is seen teaching students at primary school

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A total of Tk94,711 crore allocation for education sees 1.69% of the GDP and 11.88% of the proposed budget.

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Ariful Islam Mithu

Publisted at 8:43 AM, Mon Jun 10th, 2024

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The budget allocation in the education sector has been slightly increased in the upcoming fiscal year. A total of Tk94,711 crore allocation for education sees 1.69% of the GDP and 11.88% of the proposed budget.  

At a post-budget discussion, the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) has already said the allocation for the education and health ministries in the proposed budget is far below the global standard.

The education campaigners and experts said Bangladesh has seen a huge growth economically but the allocation in the human capital development sector has largely been neglected over the years. 

However, they expressed hope saying that the government will focus on education right now. 

Contacted, Professor Mohammad Tariq Ahsan at the Institute of Education and Research of Dhaka University said the budget allocation has increased in education but this increase is not that significant. He believes that there are mainly two problems - First one is the education ministry cannot utilise the allocation and the last one is the amount of allocation is not sufficient. 

“Moreover we have been noticing that for many years, the budget allocation has been going back to the government because we cannot utilise the budget effectively,” said Professor Ahsan, adding, “It is a big challenge for smartly utilising the money already allocated.”

The second one is that overall budget allocation is low in Bangladesh. 

Education experts suggested that Bangladesh will have to conduct research and set the priority areas anew. 

“If the budget allocation is high in the physical infrastructures like building constructions like in the conventional way, we will not be able to reach the standard of the quality education,” said Tariq Ahsan.

Officials will have to make good use of the available resources, he suggested, adding that with the available resources the government will have to increase the quality of teaching and the quality of the teaching environment. 

At the same time, the education management system should be brought under digitalisation, he opined. 

“Now it is time to scale up the capacity of our human capitals. At the same time, we will have to focus on the learning environment,” he went on suggesting. 

While talking to former University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Professor Abdul Mannan, he cited before the 1970 elections, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said in an election campaign speech that if Awami League comes to power, the budget allocation in education will be no less than 4% of the GDP.   

He lamented as saying, “Unfortunately, till today, no government keeps the budget allocation more than 2%, though education is one of the most vital sectors for national development.” 

The education sector translates the population into human capitals but no government has taken the education sector seriously, he said, adding that even if the government cannot allocate the education budget 6% in line with the Unesco recommendation.

The government should at least allocate 4% of the GDP in the education sector, he opined.

“We discuss the budget allocation in education every year but I don’t think education sector gets the importance it should get,” Mannan observed. 

He said the reason behind the low amount of budget allocation in education is that the persons who prepare the budget either do not understand the importance or they simply neglect its importance.

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