Islamabad - The Higher Education Commission awarded 395 overseas and 1,068 indigenous scholarships in various disciplines during 2017.

According to the details, under the International Research Support Initiative Programme, 412 PhD scholars preceded for research abroad, each for a period of six months while under the bilateral agreement for Hungarian Scholarships, 157 students proceeded to Hungary for PhD, MS and BS studies. 

Besides embarking upon execution of the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor, the HEC launched Allama Iqbal Scholarship Programme for Afghan students under which 3,000 scholarships would be awarded.

The HEC also signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkey to avail scholarships for Pakistani youth to study in Turkish universities.

The HEC held a plenty of deliberative sessions to discuss the modalities of Pakistan-UK Knowledge Gateway with all the stakeholders.  The HEC also launched “Provision of Higher Education Opportunities for Students of Balochistan and Fata, Phase-II” under which a total of 3,900 students from Balochistan and Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) would be extended financial support to acquire education.

In the outgoing year, the HEC and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), a China state-owned company, signed a document of understanding under which the later would sponsor 30 Pakistani students for masters’ programme in Transportation Engineering at Southeast University, China consecutively for two academic years. The scholarship would be fully funded and would cover tuition, accommodation, return airfare and living stipend for all the awardees.

The HEC also launched Prime Minister’s National Laptop Scheme (PMNLS) Phase IV and V. So far, 300,000 students have been benefited from the less than three phases of the scheme executed by the HEC. With the efforts of the HEC, the laptops assembly plant had been installed in Pakistan and students were now able to get made-in-Pakistan laptops along with internet devices.

In the ICT sphere, the HEC launched Online Attestation System by developing an e-portal for registration and processing of degree attestation cases. This initiative made the degree attestation process for candidates easier, as they register online, get their degrees scrutinised and schedule appointment for documents attestation.

The HEC set up call centre to facilitate parents, students, faculty and researchers across Pakistan in case of any query regarding the HEC programmes.

As part of its programmes for infrastructure development and expansion of universities and sub-campuses, sub-campuses of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University, Lasbela University and University of Poonch were made operational in Naushki, Wadh and Forward Kahuta, respectively, thus providing higher education at the doorstep for inhabitants of these areas.

The commission also announced establishment of University of Khushab for students of the district and adjoining areas. It also announced establishment of two university colleges in Balochistan, one each in Zhob and Dera Murad Jamali. The University College Zhob will be a constituent college of Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta. The second university college will be established in Dera Murad Jamali and will be a constituent college of Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences, Uthal.

The commission also closed down around 450 MS and PhD programmes of different universities, as they failed to fulfil the HEC criteria. To create awareness among parents and students about the status of the universities, their campuses and programmes, the HEC continued publishing parent and student alerts in national dailies in 2017 too.

During the 2017, the HEC awarded over 251,000 scholarships to Pakistani students including, among others, 8,700 indigenous, 9,550 overseas, and 9,500 need-based scholarships. As many as 200,700 students of 114 districts benefited from Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme for less-developed areas.

Under the Prime Minister’s Laptop Scheme, Rs26.46 billion were allocated for provision of laptops to talented students for 2013-2018.

The HEC had started its journey with only 59 varsities in the country, 2.6 per cent gross enrolment, 800 publications, and 3,110 PhDs. However, the number of higher education institutions has now reached to 188 with 9 per cent gross enrolment, 12,000 publications, and 11,960 PhDs. Female enrolment has now reached to 48 per cent, as the HEC is promoting equal higher-education opportunities to maintain gender equity.