Islamabad-Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) would provide free education to prisoners, disabled of all categories and drop-out girl students, with additional support, that includes provision of textbooks and allied material, an official said on Tuesday.

These marginalised sections of the society will be eligible to take admission in any academic program, as already approved by the University’s Executive Council, this was announced by the Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui while addressing a ceremony arranged here by the Officers Welfare Association (OWA). University’s retired employees were given shields in the ceremony, as a token of their outstanding contribution in the development of AIOU’s as a leading educational institution of the country, having 1.3 million students.

While eulogizing the hard work and devotion of the out-going employees, he said their contribution had been remarkable in expanding the scope of education and enabling the University to take care of even those who are unable to undertake their study due to financial constraints.        

There are about nine financial assistance/scholarships’ schemes which support such students, he said. “

We want to ensure that fee-payment should not be a hurdle in educational pursuits,” he added.

The students could apply for these scholarships while applying for admission, autumn 2017. The last date for the admission is September 5.

The VC also highlighted steps taken during the last two and half years for the welfare of the employees, including regularisation of daily wages’ employees, promotion and selection of the working staff to the next grades, as well as enhancing their medical facilities.

President OWA Malik Mazhar Saeedi in his address on the thanked the VC for his support to regular and retired employees, improving their living conditions. The work done for their welfare in recent years has been unprecedented, he added.