As many as 148 Pakistani students are set to leave for study in Hungary, as the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan held a send-off ceremony to award certificates to the scholarship winners under the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Program.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) Rana Tanveer Hussain attended the ceremony as chief guest through a video link. Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail, and Charge d’Affaires Embassy of Hungary Mr Tivadar Takacs graced the occasion. A large number of Vice Chancellors, faculty members, alumni, and scholarship awardees along with their parents were present.
Congratulating the scholarship awardees, the Minister said that it is an excellent opportunity for the students to enhance their knowledge and skills and get international exposure. He advised the students to fully utilize their potential and talent in their respective areas of study as well as under the cultural diversity to play a role in further improving harmony between Pakistan and Hungary. He maintained that the scholarship opportunity puts responsibility upon the students to work hard and learn to better serve Pakistan. He assured that the Government of Pakistan is fully supportive of the programs like Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarships.
Chairman HEC Dr Mukhtar Ahmed appreciated the support of Hungarian Government for higher studies of Pakistani students. He said a large number of Nobel Laureates are the graduates of Hungarian institutions, which is a food for thought for Pakistan to continue the journey of strengthening higher education institutions. He noted that the Hungarian universities welcome Pakistani students as its education policy is very inclusive and open. He urged the Hungarian Government to enhance the number of scholarships for Pakistani students. He advised the students to utilize their energies on showing exemplary academic performance and character and play ambassadors of Pakistan in Hungary.
Shedding light on the background of the scholarship program, Dr Shaista Sohail said that these scholarships began in 2015 with award of 80 scholarships, which was increased to 200 every year in 2017. She highlighted that the Government of Hungary has shown interest in continuing the cooperation and renew MoU for 200 scholarships annually for the next three years from 2023-2025. She underlined that a total of 772 scholarships, including 565 Bachelor’s, 161 Master’s, and 46 PhD scholarships, were awarded the scholarships to study in Hungary from 2016 to 2021. She maintained that 148 students — 111 undergraduate, 28 Master’s and nine PhD, are proceeding this year. This will take the number of beneficiaries to 920, she added.
Charge d’Affaires Mr. Tivadar Takacs wished best of luck to the students departing for Hungary and assured that the Hungarian educational system will not pose any unpredictable obstacles for them in their pursuit of knowledge and higher education. He said that the students going to Hungary have great potential as they have been selected from within a very high number of applicants. He said that the scholarship program is a long-term investment in the relations between Pakistan and Hungary. He urged the students to join, after completion of their studies, the Pakistan-Hungary Alumni Network in order to keep playing their role in further improving the bilateral relations.
Ms Maria Akhtar, alumnus of the scholarship program, also shared her thoughts and experiences with the scholarship winners.