Islamabad: The Pakistan government has set aside Rs24 billion (Dh570 million) for 4-year scholarship schemes to support 200,000 undergraduates under Ehsaas Programme. Half of the scholarship recipients will be girls belonging to low-income groups.
Prime Minister Imran Khan gave away need-based Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships in the first phase to the first batch of deserving bright students on Monday.
As part of Ehsaas, 2 per cent of scholarships will be exclusively awarded to students with special needs.
The flagship programme is being implemented across the country and, according to the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety and Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Dr Sania Nishtar, these scholarships will cover 100 per cent of the tuition fee and a living stipend of Rs4,000 (Dh95.11) per month.
The geographical spread of the programme, according to Nishtar, will cover all four provinces, Pakistan-Administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan (GB).
Every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded scholarships for 4- to 5-year undergraduate degree programmes, she said.
The success and continuation of scholarship programme in future years will depend upon the efficacy, maintenance of academic performance by the students and the evaluation of the desired results.
The programme will be overseen by the Ehsaas Scholarships Steering Committee, co-chaired by HEC chairman BISP chairperson.
According to the poverty alleviation division, the scholarship programme seeks to eliminate inequality in access to higher education.
“Unlike past scholarships that were aimed at MS or PhD programmes, Ehsaas Scholarships focus on the most critical segment namely the 4-year undergraduate programme, which contributes the most to income potential,” said Dr Sania Nishtar.
All students in Pakistan who are admitted to a four-year degree programme in an HEC-recognised public sector university or its affiliated colleges, with family income below a poverty threshold (to be fixed every year by the Ehsaas Scholarships Steering Committee) are eligible to receive the scholarship.
The programme is open to students in all major fields of education, namely agriculture, arts and humanities, business education, engineering, medical, physical sciences, and social sciences.
The final award list is posted publicly at the university, and is also made available on the HEC website as well as the university’s website. Selected students have to open bank accounts, and stipends will be deposited directly into the accounts.