By Khalid Khattak
THE Higher Education Commission (HEC) has resumed its overseas scholarship programme for MS/MPhil leading to PhD which was earlier put on hold because of cut in funding by the federal government.
In November 2008, the HEC had to put on hold overseas scholarship scheme after grants were slashed. The decision had disappointed prospective students because most of them had not only secured admissions to foreign universities but had also obtained visas.
The issue had drawn widespread condemnation for the government as other students who were already studying at foreign universities under HEC’s overseas scholarship scheme had also faced problems. The government was widely criticised for spending lavishly on “bulky” cabinet and depriving brilliant students of opportunities to study at foreign universities.
A couple of days ago the commission started sending emails to students to inform them that it intended to resume scholarships which were earlier put on hold.
An email sent by an HEC official to one of the students reads: “It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the HEC has received full funds from the government of Pakistan and it intends to resume scholarships which were earlier put on hold due to severe financial crunch.”
Talking to The News, a number of students expressed happiness over the decision saying the process should be completed immediately so that students and their families might not suffer anymore.
A student, Attique, said the commission should make sure that those who had secured admissions might join their institutions from coming academic session.
“We have already gone through a tough competition”, he said adding “the commission should not restart the whole process like signing security bonds etc”.
When contacted, HEC executive director Dr Sohail H Naqvi said the government had released an amount of Rs 16.2 billion adding out of it Rs 8 billion was meant for overseas scholarship scheme.
To a question, he said there were around 340 students whose scholarships were put on hold adding most of these had secured admissions to universities of New Zealand, Italy, Germany and other European countries.
Dr Naqvi said students’ cases would be processed individually adding the commission wanted to complete the process as soon as possible.
The News, 10th May 2009