Islamabad - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan organised on Wednesday a send-off ceremony in honour of 73 HEC scholars proceeding to Germany for doctoral studies.

 Ina Lepel, Ambassador of Germany, was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC and Dr Barth Manzoori, Section Head of DAAD German Academic Exchange Service, were also present.

Interviews were held for selection of scholars under the Overseas Scholarship Scheme Phase-II and Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Project in May 2015, wherein 56 candidates from across Pakistan and 17 from Balochistan were recommended for PhD scholarship, respectively. Out of 73 candidates, 13 were recommended for MS-cum-PhD, while the rest were selected for PhD studies.      

Speaking on the occasion, Ina Lepel congratulated the students selected from different universities for scholarship through a meritorious, tough and demanding procedure. She said Pakistan’s national poet, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, also studied in Germany and the students proceeding to Germany are lucky to follow in his footsteps. She said as many as 300 Pakistani scholars have already completed their studies in German universities.

The ambassador said the academic and social life in Germany will provide the students a great opportunity to learn and have new exposures. She urged the students to make friends, enjoy life and learn in Germany.

In his welcome address, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that HEC has penned agreements with several foreign countries for collaboration. He said HEC provided 9,800 foreign scholarships to students who are now serving the nation and the world. He said HEC ensures merit in selection of students and 58 per cent students are from small towns and remote areas.

The chairman said: “those who worked in Pakistan before completion of their PhDs earned on average Rs22,000 to Rs25, 000 per month, but afterwards, they earn up to Rs1,30,000 per month, which is a remarkable achievement.

Currently the number of faculty members serving in Pakistani universities is 40,000, while there are only 10,000 PhDs among them, the Chairman said, stressing: “We still need to do a lot and go a long way for increasing qualified faculty in our institutions. We have huge responsibilities.”

 He said the government is committed to facilitating students to acquire higher education in the country as well as abroad. Referring to the Knowledge Corridor proposal with the United States, the Chairman said that 10,000 scholarships, 1000 every year, will be extended to students under this programme.  

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Barth Manzoori briefed the audience about the DAAD scholarships. She said that since 2004, DAAD has been collaborating with HEC for sending Pakistani scholars to Germany. She termed the scholarship holders lucky for getting this opportunity and also appreciated the Government of Pakistan for supporting PhD scholars for study in best universities abroad. She said DAAD representatives will guide and assist the students in Germany.

 The scholarship holders also included a visually impaired student, Mr. Imran Qaisar, who lauded and thanked the HEC and the Governments of Pakistan as well as Federation of Republic of Germany.