In the budget FY 2023-24 , the federal government of Pakistan has allocated a significant amount of Rs59.7 billion under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the ongoing and new schemes of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The allocation aims to support and enhance higher education initiatives in the country during the fiscal year 2023-24.
According to the budget document released on Friday, the allocation is divided into two categories. Approximately Rs52.8 billion has been designated for ongoing schemes in the education sector, while an additional Rs6.9 billion has been set aside for new schemes.
Among the ongoing schemes, a substantial sum of Rs1.5 billion has been allocated for the Award of Allama Muhammad Iqbal 3,000 Scholarships to Afghan students, as per the directive of the Prime Minister. Furthermore, Rs500 million each has been assigned for the development of the Main Campus Bacha Khan University in Charsadda (BKUC) and the University of Buner (UBuner) in Swari under Phase-I of their development plans.
Additional allocations include Rs500 million for the establishment of the Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Khan Centre in basic sciences and Rs500 million for the University College at Zhob (BUITEMS), with plans for revision.
Significant funding has also been reserved for specific programs. A total of Rs1 billion has been set aside for the Fulbright Scholarships Support Program HEC-USAID under Phase-III, and the same amount has been allocated for the Innovative Center and Software Park at the University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore, which will be revised.
To promote international academic opportunities, the government has earmarked Rs3.23 billion for Overseas Scholarships for MS/M.Phil leading to PhD in selected fields, specifically under Phase III of the HEC program.
Furthermore, a substantial amount of Rs3 billion has been allocated for the PhD Scholarship Program under the Pak-US Knowledge Corridor in its Phase-I, with revisions to the program. Another Rs800 million has been reserved for the Strengthening and Expansion of the University of Gujrat (UoG) and its Allied Campuses.
In an effort to enhance infrastructure and connectivity, the government has allocated Rs740.902 million for strengthening the Core Network and expanding PERN footprints through CPEC Optical Fiber under PERN-III-HEC.
For the new schemes, the government has allocated Rs1.2 billion to improve laboratory facilities in five leading Engineering Universities, namely UET Peshawar, Taxila, Lahore, Khuzdar, and NED Karachi.
Furthermore, Rs500 million each has been allocated to provide higher education opportunities to students from Balochistan and tribal areas under Phase-III of the program. Additionally, funds amounting to Rs500 million have been allocated to enhance academic facilities at NED University of Engineering & Technology (NEDUET) Karachi.
Lastly, Rs500 million has been earmarked for the establishment of the Institute of Sports, demonstrating the government’s commitment to promoting sports education and development.
These substantial allocations, for HEC in Budget 2023-24, reflect the government’s prioritization of higher education, scholarships, infrastructure development, and the improvement of academic facilities in various universities across Pakistan.