The four percent of GDP commitment has been made by multiple governments, by almost all political parties, and has been explicitly stated as Pakistani policy in multiple official documents.
A non-government organization Alif Ailaan suggested measures to the government for road to getting 4 % of the education. In its recommendation, it said, “In order for us to determine the quantum of spending required for Pakistan to successfully allocate four percent of the GDP for expenditure on education by 2018, we need the following data:
- The current GDP and expected GDP in 2018
- The current expenditure on education and the expected expenditure on education (if it was to equal 4% of the GDP in 2018)
- The breakdown of the education expenditure by province, and by the federal government
In the 2015-2016 budget, the combined federal and provincial allocations for education are almost PKR 734 billion. This constitutes 2.68% of the GDP. In his budget speech on June 05, 2015, the Finance Minister had mistakenly claimed that Pakistan was only spending 1.78% of its GDP on education. He will be pleased to learn that he is overseeing allocations that constitute a substantially higher share of the GDP. However, his pleasure will be moderated by the long journey that still remains.
Following the 18th Constitutional Amendment, education became a devolved subject. Since 2010, the provincial governments have substantially increased allocations for education every year. On average, the provinces allocate more than 20% of their total overall budgets towards education. This exceeds the UNESCO guidelines for budgetary share for education (which is 20%).
How much each province allocates is largely informed by the funds each province receives from the center. However based on the distribution of the share of the provinces’ total allocations in the 2015-2016 a simple projection yields the table below, with a ballpark figure that each province can consider as a target for allocations in the 2017-2018 budget, if Pakistan is to meet the four percent of GDP target.
The report says that achieving this goal should be something that that garners universal support. However, without a serious and constructive set of deliberations about how to achieve the goal, and what the goal actually means in practical terms, it will remain elusive.