An analysis of Financial Year 2009-10 District Education Budgets showed that total non salary budget for schools was Rs800Million. Thus, the schools had an average of Rs1,300 per month and some of school had Rs300 per month non salary school budgets. Keeping in view the above position , Finance Department (FD) notified Minimum Funding Standards for Schools (MFSS) policy in FY 2011-12 and agreed an increase in Non Salary Budgets of Districts by six times resulting into an increase of total Non-salary Budgets for Schools from Rs800Mn to Rs 3.486 Billion.
Inspired by the positive progress in this area, and as a continuation from this agenda, Sindh Education Reforms Program (SERP II) included the design of Preparation and Management of School Specific Budgets. This sub-program, together with the rest of the reform initiatives of SERP II, seeks to further advance the strengthening of systems with a special focus of using the school level as a unit of analysis for assessing improvements in public delivery of education.
School Specific Budget (SSB) salary side takes into account strict Teacher Rationalization protocols. Salary budgets are set by Reform Support Unit, Education & Literacy Department using an algorithm that minimizes school student-teacher ratios relative to the fixed median student-teacher ratio in the taluka and rationalize the teacher resource based on merit based need and to achieve the objective of quality learning environment.
School Specific Budget is given to all primary, middle, elementary, high and higher secondary schools in 23 districts, including five districts of Karachi City. Government of Sindh (GoS) has agreed that only schools with valid SEMIS codes will receive non-salary school specific budgets constructed following the stipulated guidelines. The current formula for school non salary budgets is a function of the school’s level, student enrollment, and number of classrooms. Specifically, 20% of the total non salary budget for schools in a given district is to be distributed in relation to the school’s level, 45% in relation to school enrollment, and 35% in relation to the number of classrooms. Within the 20% of the budget allocated for distribution on the basis of school level, 50% is allotted for distribution among primary schools, 10% for distribution among middle schools, 15% among elementary schools, and 25% among high and higher secondary schools, up to specified ceilings. Use of school non salary budgets by primary, middle, and elementary schools is limited to certain stipulated categories of expenditures (travel expenses for teachers, stationery, teaching and learning materials, expenditures for co-curricular activities), up to stipulated ceilings in percent terms.
GoS along with the FD has established a SSB Fund Utilization framework that expands the amount of stakeholders involved in making use of non salary components of the SSB (which incorporates one gazette officers apart from the DDO), and specifies the process in which the funds will be spent, submitted, and tracked on a periodic basis.
School Specific Budget is consolidated by taluka levels and distribution of budgets available in the School Specific Budget Annexure of Volume III of Budget Book . The project would essentially be dealing with the drawing and disbursement offices and the command structures. SPPRA rules, budget books and relevant rules and notifications will be the key reference documents.
It is believed that the implementation of SSB in letter and spirit will result into merit and need based rationalization of financial and human (specially teaching) resources.