The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act is finally getting the support it needs from the US Congress.  The Act was introduced by two representatives of the House, Hakeem Jeffries and Ann Wagner to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 26, 2019,  to increase  gender equality in education for the benefit of Pakistani females.

The Scholarship Act is a way of bolstering the number of scholarships available to young Pakistani women, under the banner of USAID Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program (MNBSP).

USAID, to this day has awarded over 6,000 scholarships to girls in Pakistan, for higher education. The Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program was established by USAID in collaboration with Higher Education Commission; the purpose was to provide full-tuition scholarships to financially-disadvantaged Pakistani students.

The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act, asks that 50 percent of the MNBSP scholarships be made available to women each year from 2020 to 2022. As per reports, the Act requires a yearly briefing that provides data that includes:

  1. The total number of scholarships awarded by gender through the program, the chosen discipline of study by each scholarship recipient.
  2. The percentage of scholarships awarded for both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees.
  3. The percentage of scholarship recipients who failed to meet program requirements or voluntarily dropped out of school.

The bill may have made its way, successfully through the committee with 28 cosponsors, but it will have go through severe scrutiny of the House of Representatives, and only if the Senate gives the bill its seal of approval, will it reach the President’s office to get signed into the law. And, finally fulfill its purpose of bringing Pakistan a step close to greater gender equality in education.

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