LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the target of providing two hundred thousand students of Punjab with scholarships will soon be achieved.

The volume of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) set up in 2008 with a sum of Rs1b will reach Rs20b this year to help poor but talented students, without gender distinction, get quality education at the government expense, the CM said during a meeting with PEEF scholars yesterday.

“PEEF is the biggest educational fund in the history of the region and helping more than 1.5 lakh talented boy and girl students who are emerging as pride of the nation,” Shehbaz said, adding that the dream of progress and prosperity cannot be realised without equipping the new generation with modern knowledge.

He said talented students are being admitted to prestigious educational institutions anywhere in the world so that they do not lag behind others in using their abilities in getting most advance learning of the time.

“These students are today studying at prestigious educational institutions like Oxford, Cambridge and LUMS with the help of this fund,” he added.

According to the CM, the PEEF has become a symbol of national solidarity as boy and girl students of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and other provinces are also being given scholarships.

Shehbaz Sharif said that he was pleased to meet PEEF scholars who have shown outstanding performance in educational field. “Scholarships are being given purely on merit as merit is the only way to achieve progress and prosperity.”

The chief minister said that he firmly believes in merit as well as justice, hard work and honesty as these qualities are the biggest asset of a nation.

The PEEF scholars, while speaking on the occasion, paid rich tribute to CM Shehbaz Sharif for launching Punjab Educational Endowment Fund and said that he had realised the dream of students of low-income families to get higher education.

Provincial Minister for Higher Education Begum Zakiya Shahnawaz, MPA Bushra Anjum Butt, PEEF Vice Chairman Dr Amjad Saqib and PEEF Board of Directors were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister presided over 21st meeting of Board of Directors of PEEF which discussed various matters including performance of endowment fund and provision of scholarships to talented students on merit. Various matters relating to PEEF were also given approval on this occasion.

Dr Amjad Saqib gave a briefing on educational fund.