Education ADP spending declines

May 31, 2014

Budget: Looking Back
Education ADP spending declines
The spending of ADP fund for the education and the primary and mass education ministry declined by 10 and 7 percentage points in July–March this 2013–2014 financial year compared with the corresponding period spending in the past financial year. The sluggish implementation of development projects under the ministries till March is frustrating, contributing a little towards enhancing the quality of education, project officials and campaigners said.
Education officials said that the slow place of project implementation was hindering the development of infrastructure and other facilities needed for better education.
‘Projects are under way to develop the infrastructure of more than 5,500 secondary schools, 1,000 madrassahs and 1,500 colleges,’ the finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said in his 2013-2014 budget speech.
Project officials said that construction and other physical infrastructure works were slow. The job of upgrade of 306 schools into model institutions in as many upazilas having no government high school is also slow because of problems in fund release.
The government is scheduled to complete the work of 1,500 new primary schools in villages having no primary schools by June but the project officials said that a half of the schools were yet to be built.
According to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division,
the primary and mass education ministry implemented only 54 development programme in July–March of the 2013–2014 financial year; the figure for the period in the 2012–2013 financial year was 61 per cent.
The education ministry performance is even poorer, with the implementation of 46 per cent of its development programmes; the figure for the period in the 2012–2013 financial year was 56 per cent.
The primary and mass education ministry in the nine months could spend only Tk 2811.32 crore of the Tk 5185.93 crore allocated for 13 projects and the education ministry could spend Tk 1328.56 crore of the Tk 2902.64 crore allocated for 80 projects.
Planning ministry officials feared that because of the slow pace of implementation so far, the ministries would now need to complete the remaining programmes in three months, risking funds being squandered and hampering the quality of work.
The Campaign for Popular Education executive director, Rasheda K Choudhury, said that ‘bureaucratic tangles, delay in fund release, and lengthy procurement’ were major reasons for the slow ADP implementation in the education sector.
‘We are disappointed about the implementation pace. The education sector gets allocation less than what is needed and what it gets should all be spent,’ she said.
There is a huge gap between the reality and expectations regarding the implementation of the education budget, she observed.
‘Public allocation for the education sector is not adequate and over the past few years, the allocation has been increasing with a decline in spending,’ according to Unnayan Onneshan’s State of Bangladesh Economy and Development 2014 report that was published in May.
‘When a large amount of money needs to be spent in a short period, lack of transparency is imminent,’ it said.
Ensuring education facilities for all is largely dependent not only on the proper budgetary allocation but also on its proper implementation. One of the major problems regarding the annual development programme is its poor implementation status, Unnayan Onneshan said.
The education secretary, Muhammed Sadique, brushed aside the allegations claiming that the implementation was on the right track.
‘By June, the implementation rate will be higher than the national average and there will be no problems with project implementation,’ he said.
He also said that the government had promised to improve the quality of education and was doing its best to do so.

-Input from New Age

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