ISLAMABAD - Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) allocated Rs 115 million in students’ support fund for the help of needy students in shape of fee remission or scholarships.

The AIOU probably one the top institution in South Asia which earmarks such a huge financial amount in its annual budget for the help of the students overcoming their financial constraints in their educational pursuits from secondary to PhD level.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui in a meeting with the senior university’ officials said the AIOU has set a unique example of helping the needy students.

The financial support is in line with the government’s policy to encourage the deserving and talented youth to continue their future study.

The university has recently launched nine schemes under which the financial support is extended on regular basis. These schemes are implemented through the University’s regional offices across the country. Special criteria has been laid dawn to ensure transparency in the implementation of these schemes.

Scholarships are given to those students who secure 75 marks in their particular discipline. They are supported through fee remission or scholarships. There is a special scheme named ‘Earn to Learn’, which provides internships and part-time jobs to deserving students to help meet their educational expenditures. This scheme is the first of its kind introduced in the country.

The students seek financial support for up to three semesters. Scholarships are offered to students hailing from remote regions where literacy rates are below 50 per cent.

The AIOU also provides free education to prisoners, enabling them to become a useful citizen of the society after completing their imprisonment. The university arranges examination for such persons within the jail’s premises. Currently, more than 200 prisoners are enrolled with the University. This is in line with the direction of the Vice Chancellor, bringing all segments of the society into the education’s net.

The university lays special focus on promoting knowledge, skill and good behaviour among its students. It provides education to those who cannot afford educational expenses due to their particularly circumstances. It gave special consideration to the education of IDPs in North Waziristan. A fund of Rs. 7 million was specially allocated for this purpose.  Besides fee remission, the university also provided books to the children of IDPs.

The university has allocated Rs. 20 million for the floods’ victims, so that the students residing in the affected regions do not face any hurdle for continuation of their study. Free education has also been made available for orphans and disabled persons, under the students’ support scheme.

An amount of Rs 7.75 million has earmarked in their annual budget for providing scholarships to the women especially those living in low-rate literacy regions.  It is in line with the government’s policy of empowering the women for their active role in socio-economic development of the country.