5 July 2012 | EN
Bangladesh has slashed its funds for science research and education in its 2012-13 budget.
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[DHAKA] Bangladesh has cut its funds for science research and education by about a quarter — 27 per cent — compared to last year while hiking up allocation for atomic energy in its latest annual budget.
Funding for key scientific organisations, such as the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) and the National Institute of Biotechnology (NIBT), have suffered cuts.
In the 2012–2013 annual budget announced last week (28 June), Bangladesh’s finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith announced US$ 46.25 million for the science and technology ministry, down from the US$ 63.75 million allocated in 2011–2012.
The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission received the largest chunk of the science budget pie with US$ 15.57 million – up from US$ 14.28 million in the previous year. In contrast, the NIBT will get US$ 662,500 against the US$ 737,500 allocated last year.
In the new fiscal year some US$ 1,750,000 have been allocated for science and technology programmes against last fiscal’s US$1,875,000.
BCSIR will get US$120 million against last year’s US$ 128.75 million. However, BCSIR’s member for finance, Dilip Sharma, told SciDev.Net, "This year’s allocation reduction may not hamper our research activity to a large extent, since the cut was not high."
Khandaker Siddique-e-Rabbani, professor at the department of physics at the University of Dhaka, told SciDev.Net: "….you can’t downsize allocation of (science) funds if you really want expansion of the sector."
Ainun Nishat, vice-chancellor of BRAC University, one of Bangladesh’s largest private universities, described the government’s allocation for research and science education as "very meagre".
Osman cited the example of ‘Digital Bangladesh’, a government initiative under the ministry of information and communication to provide free computers to schoolchildren. "So you can’t say that allocation for science education and research has been downsized."
"We are trying to give a laptop and a multimedia projector to every school. So, science is everywhere," Osman added.
Surjodipto ( Bangladesh )
6 July 2012
The minister is a wise man. But why is he trying to equate expenditure in providing laptop to every school to providing fund for scietific research? We don't understand.The fact is funds from education have been transfered to defence. The minister should instead request the finance minister to reconsider this and impress upon him to transfer some money from the 'block allocations' to the fund for scintifc research. We need to invest more in science and technology if we like to be even be at par with our neighbouring countries. We need not be at par with our neighbours in terms of military power. We know what price Pakistan is paying for in artificilly bolstering military strength by expending billions of dollars of taxpayers' money. We should'nt do the same mistake. We believe, achieving a vibrant well educated affluent society equally well-versed in science and technology can act as the best deterent to any external threat. We should never seek to acquire a military might. We should rather follow the defence policy of Japan.
Antonio ( United Kingdom )
11 July 2012
I don't think that decreasing the budget for science research and education is a good thing, never. However, the other part (equally important) of the story is: how are these resources used.
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