Sunday, September 20, 2020 | ePaper


Increased Spending Changes Bangladesh

  • Print

The beauty of increased education spending is that its bounty benefits every part of society. An upskilled nation is a more developed nation, one that is better placed to be sufficiently agile to meet the challenges that the coming decades will present. T

Dr P R Datta & Mark T. Jones :
Since the start of this millennium Bangladesh has come on leaps and bounds economically. The overall size of the economy speaks volumes for the progress made and it is always gratifying to see rates of economic growth that European economies can only dream of. That said, one does not have to venture far to see signs of the work that remains to be done, whether this be Dhaka's increasingly polluted rivers many of which resemble open sewers that have become the dumping grounds for toxic waste, or rural communities that have yet to taste the fruits of Bangladesh's economic progress. One of the greatest concerns at present is that of complacency, especially from those who only see economic growth as a panacea for the country's weaknesses and ills. Granted it is important to have a vibrant and successful economy, not least because this helps create much needed employment opportunities and thus swells the Government's tax revenue. Both employment and tax are fundamental to a successful society, for the former provides dignity and opportunity, whilst the latter helps a Government serve its people by providing the public services that are integral to a stable and civilised society.
For an objective picture of where Bangladesh is at the current time it is important to benchmark the country against its peers and look at how much other states are investing in the likes of healthcare and education. It is an indisputable fact that there is a direct correlation between the percentage of a country's GDP spent on education overtime and its economic clout across the board. With this in mind, it makes for sobering reading when one compares Bangladesh with regional neighbours as well as some of the educational and economic powerhouses of the globe. For example, in 2017 GDP% spending by Afghanistan 4.1%; Burma 2.2%; Malaysia 4.7%, Pakistan 2.9%; Sri Lanka, 2.8%; Thailand 4.1%; while in 2018 Bhutan spent 6.6% and Bangladesh only 1.9%; Nepal 5.2% (Source: World bank)
The harsh truth is that Bangladesh is not spending enough of its GDP on education and should aspire to spend 3.5% to gain meaningful returns that will be truly transformative in terms of literacy, numeracy and development. 3.5% needs to be not only an inspirational figure, but a badge of honour, one that would help the country fulfil many of its objectives.
It is essential that this magic 3.5% is not purely viewed as spending on education, in truth it benefits all sectors and along with spending on health ensures that the country is better placed to develop and sustain itself. Bangladesh should ask itself how come Malaysia and Nepal have chosen and are managing to invest so much more than it does. It is all down to leadership, priorities and vision. Investing 3.5% should be a matter of pride and it behoves every government, regardless of its political hue, to commit to attaining and where possible surpassing such a target. The last thing that Bangladesh can afford is a poverty of aspiration.  
The beauty of increased education spending is that its bounty benefits every part of society. An upskilled nation is a more developed nation, one that is better placed to be sufficiently agile to meet the challenges that the coming decades will present. To be a real powerhouse a nation should work towards spending 5% reaching 3.5% is a perfectly realistic and attainable target, one that would be transformative in its impact.
Investing in primary education, teaching training and new technology will all require bold and imaginative initiatives. There are plenty of successful models to follow and the country is not short of talented innovators who can help lead and embrace change. There will of course be those filled with excuses for doing nothing. Some will claim that Bangladesh is a poor country that cannot afford to spend more than 2% of GDP on education; others will claim that there are other priorities and that education must wait its turn. There will be siren voices that state that education is a luxury or that the country is managing just fine as it is. The sceptics and the naysayers must be resisted, Bangladesh must work assiduously towards 3.5%, for by so doing it will be future proofing itself for the world that will see Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoTs). Educators, business leaders and politicians need to come together to make this a matter of purpose in the coming years, for such an objective would be a magnificent way of marking Bangladesh's Golden Jubilee as a sovereign state.
At this beginning of this new year it is a golden opportunity to prepare to mark 2021 in style. No doubt innumerable events are being planned to mark Bangladesh's fiftieth birthday, but for a lasting legacy the finest gift the country could give to itself and future generations would be to commit to spending 3.5% of GDP on education. Now that would really be a New Year's resolution that would be well worth keeping.
(Dr P R Datta FCIM, FCMI, Executive Chair, Centre for Business & Economic Research (CBER), UK and Mark T. Jones LL.M, FCILN, Consultant Futurist
Editor-in-Chief - International Journal of Higher Education ManagementI)

More News For this Category

Huge project cost unjustified and must be recast

 THE government is set to conduct the National Population Census-2002 at a cost of over Tk 1761 crore up from Tk 237 crore spent in previous census in 2011. What

Killing is so easy and our police so powerful: Need is change of criminal politics

A TEXTILE mill worker at Manikganj Sadar Upazila was killed by his co-workers with pumping high-speed air into his body through rectum. The victim Md Julhas worked at Akij Textile

Hand In Hand Toward A Sustainable Food Future

Qu Dongyu :Five years ago, world leaders agreed on the UN's 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim of eradicating persistent global challenges such as hunger and

Vaccine Accessibility Priority Focus for 75th UNGA

Samira Sadeque :Key focuses of the upcoming 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Week will be the accessibility of vaccines and a renewed plea for

Readers’ Voice

Oh, Poor AmericaThese days I only watch CNN, so many things are happening in the USA that it has become like a Pandora box. The drama which is being played

Fragile future productivity shows poor development scenario of Bangladesh

Potential future productivity of Bangladesh is lower than not only the global average but also the South Asian region and the lower-middle-income countries' average, as per World Bank's Human

Russia`s involvement in Palestinian issue must be welcome

RUSSIA on Thursday said it would be a "mistake" to think lasting peace in the Middle East could be achieved without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moscow in a statement



Maria Hanif Al-Qassim :What do Walt Disney, Yuval Noah Harari and Steve Jobs have in common?Some may say fame, while others may say wealth. And while both may be

World Cleanup Day

World Cleanup Day

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder :World Cleanup Day is observed on the third Saturday of September every year in an effort to keep the country clean. This year it

RAB, Police differ in investigation of attack on Ghoraghat UNO

A DINAJPUR court has recorded confessions of three witnesses under Section-164 in connection with a case filed over the attack on Ghoraghat Upazila Nirbahi Officer. The authorities, however, expressed their