Islamabad - Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Tuesday organised a send-off ceremony for 200 Pakistani students selected under Scientific Exchange Program for scholarship in different universities of Hungary.

The scholarship has been awarded under the program Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship. Out of 200 scholarships, 125 scholarships have been awarded for BS studies, 50 for MS studies and 25 for PhD programs.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Baligh-ur-Rehman was the chief guest of the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister congratulated the students selected for scholarships and urged them to fully utilise the opportunity of acquiring education in Hungary.

He said that the Government of Pakistan is committed to providing conducive environment to Pakistani youth.

“The government has remarkably increased funding for tertiary education,” he said, adding that the number of out-of-school children has also dropped down considerably.

The selected students belong to various disciplines including Computer Science, Engineering, Business Administration and Management, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, Petroleum Geo-Engineering, Earth Sciences, Applied Economics, Biology, Nursing and Patient Care, and Chemistry.

These Pakistani students will acquire higher education in different Hungarian universities including University of Debrecen, University of Pécs, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Széchenyi István University, University of Dunaújváros, University of Miskolc, and Eötvös Lorand University to name a few.

Describing the background of Higher Education and Scientific Exchange Program, Chairman HEC, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said the Program, launched by HEC Pakistan and Hungary’s Ministry of Human Capacity was initially launched for three years and 80 students were sent under the program last year.

However, he said that the number of scholarships has been increased to 200 scholarships per year.

He underlined that HEC strictly follows merit in awarding all its scholarships as well as other programs for uplift of higher education.

He said that Pakistan has also announced 30 scholarships for Hungarian students to study in Pakistani universities. 

The chairman said that HEC is also planning to expand research collaboration with Hungarian universities. He informed the audience that Hungarian institutions have offered their support in setting up a Sport university in Pakistan.

He said that a group of Pakistani universities Vice Chancellors (VCs) will visit Hungarian universities in the next few weeks to explore avenues of collaboration, adding that Hungarian universities VCs will also come to Pakistan soon.

Addressing the students, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said, “You will be ambassadors of Pakistan in Hungary, so you have to show the real image of Pakistan”. He said that Hungary has a population of only 9.8 million people, but it has produced many Nobel Laureates. The inventions in science and technology by Hungarian scientists have great importance for the world, he maintained.

The Ambassador Hungarian Embassy Szabo Istavan said the Government of Hungary gives great importance to bilateral relations with Pakistan.

“Investment in education is indeed investment in future and it will help further improve the bilateral relations,” he said, adding that the two countries have a long history of diplomatic relations spanning over half a century. 

The Ambassador informed that the Hungarian Embassy in Pakistan plans to form an Alumni Association of Pakistani students who complete their education from Hungarian institutions for stronger collaboration in future.

He underscored that Pakistani students, already studying in Hungary, have showed very good academic performance. He said the award of scholarships is a great opportunity for Pakistani students to build a soft image of Pakistan in Hungary.

 The ceremony was also attended by Azizullah, Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Dr G Raza Bhatti, Acting Executive Director HEC, Waseem S Hashmi Syed, Adviser (HRD) HEC, representatives European Union, HEC scholars and their parents.