Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan, hosted a meeting of Deputy Assistant Administrator USAID Ms. Maria Longi and Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed with a batch of 20 scholarship awardees of the USAID-funded Merit and Needs-based Scholarship Program at the HEC Secretariat on Wednesday.
Executive Director HEC Dr. Shaista Sohail, Acting Deputy Mission Director Mr. Yohannes Araya, and Director Office of Education USAID Pakistan Ms. Anne Flaker also attended the meeting.
Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed appreciated USAID for providing Master’s scholarships to 700 female students to study in different disciplines in the top 30 partner institutions of Pakistan. USAID has been supporting scholarships for meritorious but financially disadvantaged students for the last 18 years to assist the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to raise the access of enrolment of students, especially female students from rural and less developed districts, to study in engineering, business, social sciences, agriculture, and medicine degree programs in top Pakistani universities.
Ms. Maria Longi thanked HEC management for hosting the meeting and appreciated HEC for selecting the finest talent of Pakistan. She hoped that the scholarship recipients would bring positive change in their communities.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said, “The support of US government in various sectors of Pakistan, especially in the education sector, is commendable. The partnership has a legacy of 75 years now. It is through support and investment of partners like USAID that university education for many underprivileged students became accessible, and it provided them a prospect to uplift themselves.”
“Pakistani students are very talented, and under the Erasmus Mundus scholarship program, which is very competitive, this year the highest number of students securing these scholarships are from Pakistan. So the US universities may also give more access to Pakistani students as there is no talent shortage in Pakistan. The Government is very keen to support students to study in best universities of US.”
The Chairman congratulated the scholarship awardees who joined the meeting from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Southern Punjab, and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. The scholarship beneficiaries shared their experience and were apprised about their challenges while pursuing higher education.
With the investment of $33.2 million, over 6000 needs-based scholarships have been awarded, making it one of the most extensive USAID-funded scholarship programs of Pakistan. The Program has awarded 60% of scholarships to female students.