Tue, 16 Aug 2022

Gilgit-Baltistan [PoK], July 6 (ANI): Despite budget cuts by the Pakistani government, Gilgit-Baltistan improved its education standards. The achievements become more prominent in the backdrop of Islamabad performing below average in the field of education.

GB Education Minister Raja Azam Khan has been praised for taking adequate measures in improving the educational standards in the region, a local media reported.

The local media noted that India and Myanmar are far ahead then Pakistan in education standards. It further stated that the Gilgit-Baltistan government should ensure that education is given priority in the state so that no one from the autonomous region will have to suffer and move to other cities in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the reduction in recurring grants for the higher education budget this year has impacted the universities in PoK.

The dramatic reduction in recurring grants has posed an immediate threat to the survival of several universities in the public sector belonging to four provinces of Pakistan including 5 in Pok, reported The Express Tribune.

According to the heads of some of these universities, many of the higher education universities run the risk of shutting down owing to the cut in recurring grants.

"There is a danger of closing the doors of higher education to the majority of students as all the universities across the country depend on HEC [Higher Education Commission] funding," they said.

The education heads expressed concerns that the reduction would make it impossible for universities to pay salaries or pensions. It would even become difficult to meet the overall expenses required to run universities, reported The Express Tribune.

While addressing a meeting, Tariq Banuri, the chairman of HEC emphasized the importance of education in the 'country's defence and security. He said that if the cut in the budget is implemented the education sector in PoK will suffer from a severe crisis.

In addition, Banuri urged the need to present the consequences of the unprecedented reduction in higher education funding to the government, reported The Express Tribune.

Vice-Chancellor Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi of the PoK universities said that the universities in the region have been facing a dire financial crisis since the 18th amendment, due to which, although the provincial governments provide grants to universities run in their own sectors, meagre grants are received by those universities belonging in PoK.

Earlier, the PoK finance ministry proposed a minimum amount of 30 billion rupees for higher education's recurring grant against the rationalised demand of 104.983 billion rupees, reported The Express Tribune. The allocation was even 45 per cent less than the current year's allocation of 66.25 billion rupees. (ANI)

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