ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar made a surprise visit to the Quaid-e-Azam University and held a dialogue with students on the Ehsaas Scholarship programme.
“This was a critical policy consultation, which enabled me to appreciate fully how important financial access to education is for students at an undergraduate level,” she said. Vice-Chancellor QAU Muhammad Ali was also present.
Nishtar sat on the floor on the grounds of QAU and interacted with students to get insights on their academic aspirations and key challenges being faced by them. She listened to students to understand their concerns and constraints.
“I strongly believe that we cannot frame policies sitting back in offices; unless we engage with the beneficiaries of programs we run, we cannot ensure that programs are responsive,” she said.
During an engaging interaction, a large number of undergraduate-level students from diverse regional and social backgrounds shared a wide range of viewpoints and appreciated the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships program.
They lauded the scholarship program as one of the best opportunities for students who cannot bear academic expenses as it not just covers tuition fees but provides a living stipend. They said the online application portal gave them a level playing field to apply for the scholarships in a transparent manner.
Female students appreciated that fifty percent of the scholarships have been allocated for them, while students with special needs as well as those from remote areas are being encouraged to apply.
Dr Nishtar assured that the government is fully committed to ensuring that the scholarship program benefits maximum number of students who are in actual need. “This program has fetched a major policy change in educational canvas of Pakistan by emphasising on the most critical segment, the undergraduate program, which contributes the most to furthering income generation potential.”
Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships is one of the eight priority programs launched by the prime minister on November 4 last year. For the current academic year 2019-20, applications were solicited from students online through Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) portal. The scholarship award will soon commence and dates for this will be shortly announced.