Dubai: In a major push to ensure education for all, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the largest ever scholarship programme in the country.
“The best way to reduce poverty is provision of opportunities to students from poor families,” said Imran while addressing at the launching ceremony of the scholarship progamme. The scholarship would cover 100 per cent tuition fee of the students’ tuition fee of 4th and 5th year undergraduate students and also provide them stipend. The deadline to apply for scholarships is December 10. Imran;s promise during this election campaign to introduce a unified education system has, however, not seen the daylight yet.
“According to the last update I received, some 800,000 students are studying under the English medium system, 30 million under Urdu medium and 2.5 million students are enrolled in madressahs (religious schools),” he revealed.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran also condemend the colonial-era educational system still being followed in Pakistan. He criticised the multiple education systems which exist in Pakistan. “Three parallel systems — English medium, Urdu medium and religious seminaries — were being run in the society which was a big injustice and no one tried to [fix it] or talk about it,” he said.
Under the new programme called ‘Eshsas for Students’, some 50,000 scholarships will be offered each year. Out of the total, two per cent quota will be allocated for physically challenged student. He also emphasised the importance of a high literacy rate among women and said that some 50 per cent of the scholarships will be provided to women, Dawn news reported.
‘Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Programme’ is another project of the government’s social welfare programme Ehsaas and aims to provide scholarships to about 200,000 students from lower income families over the next four years. The government will award 50,000 scholarships every year, half of which will be granted to women,” Imran tweeted.
The project aims to “ensure that no student is deprived of education because of financial need. Scholarships will be awarded to students admitted to any public sector university on merit, whose family income is below poverty threshold.
The programme also encourages special needs students to apply and has special provision for those belonging to rural or remote areas in the country.
What is Ehsaas Programme?
Ehsaas (care)is an ambitious social safety and poverty alleviation programme launched by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government. Since the launch of the programme earlier this year, the prime minister has inaugurated multiple welfare projects under Ehsaas’ umbrella including Ehsaas-Saylani Langar Scheme and Panah-gah in order to provide food and shelter to the poor.
The programme was launched by PM Imran in March this year with the objectives to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts.
Under the programme, two per cent quota in government jobs had been reserved for those with physical disabilities would be implemented. Two per cent quota had also been fixed for those with special needs in the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.
As part of the initiative for the uplift of marginalised groups and those with physical and intellectual disabilities, directives had been issued for the procurement of support equipment. This included hearing aids, wheelchairs, walking canes, and other tools.
Under this programme, people with special needs will also get health insurance cards.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently pledged to provide Pakistan with an amount of $200 million for the implementation of ‘Ehsaas Programme’ in the country.
Pakistan and the Gates Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during a meeting in New York supporting the government’s initiative in alleviating poverty from the country.
According to the agreement, the amount would be spent on 134 poverty alleviation projects under the programme.