Save the Children has urged the Ministry of Finance to revise the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) saying the allocation is Tk. 1.4 billion lesser than that of the last year.
In 2016-17, the total budget for the MoPME was Tk. 221.6 billion while it has been reduced to Tk. 220.2 billion this year. Moreover, the share of the total education budget for MoPME, Secondary and Higher Education Division and Technical and Madrasah Education Division is set to decline to 12.6% from 14.4% of the last budget, said a press release of the international child rights organisation.
“We are particularly worried for significant reduction in allocation and coverage proposed for the education stipend programmes at primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. Allocation for Primary School Stipend has been reduced to Tk. 3.5 billion from Tk. 14 billion of last year, for Secondary Education Stipend-Tk. 1.1 billion from Tk. 2.4 billion of last year, and for Higher Secondary Stipend-Tk. 0.5 billion from 1.5 billion of last year,” said Md Ashiq Iqbal, Public, Finance and Governance Advisor of Save the Children in Bangladesh.
“The reduction will have a negative impact on quality education and also on retaining children in schools,” he further said.
However, Save the Children congratulated the finance minister for his 11th budget and thanked him for presenting a child-friendly budget, which saw an 18% increase in health allocation with 39% of that designated for children.
This year’s budget has also given particular attention to persons with disabilities, including children, with 30% increase in safety net programmes for children with disabilities. Allocation for stipends to students with disabilities has also gone up by 14%.
Recent ‘Stolen Childhood’ report, launched by Save the Children, shows that children in Bangladesh do not experience healthy childhood for many reasons, and one of the reasons is that 28% children are still out of school. Therefore, it is important to give more focus on children and to make sure the allocated money is being used properly so that children throughout Bangladesh can learn, grow and be protected.