Indian foundation helps Pakistan’s poor students
THE South Asia Foundation (SAF), an Indian non-government organisation, has announced a scholarship grant for the region’s brilliant but poor students studying in distance learning universities.
Professor Saleema Hashmi, the head of SAF in Pakistan, and Pakistan’s Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Syed Altaf Hussain, announced a $300,000 scholarship grant for 1,000 students of the AIOU. The grants will be paid in monthly stipends.
Pakistani academics and students were delighted by the SAF Madanjeet Singh Scholarships. “For an Indian to donate so much money to Pakistani students is tremendous. It shows he has a vision for a prosperous and literate South Asia,” said one academic.
The SAF, a voluntary, secular, non-profit and non-political youth movement, was founded by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh, with the aim of promoting regional cooperation and peace through education, mutual understanding and friendship among the young people of South Asia.
The SAF has arranged a large number of scholarships for talented young students across South Asia including group scholarships or gender-paired scholarships to two students each from eight South Asian countries, meant to help under-privileged students get a higher education. Mr Singh was born in Lahore on April 16, 1924. He did his post-graduation from Government College, Lahore. Partition obliged him to migrate to New Delhi, where he volunteered to work in a refugee camp, all the while preparing for the post-graduate exams in chemistry at Delhi Polytechnic. He is also an artist and author of several books. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1953 and served as ambassador in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe before joining UNESCO in 1982. In recognition of his life-long devotion to the cause of communal harmony and peace, the UNESCO executive board set up a biannual UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence in 1995.
Mr Singh founded the SAF in 2000 to which he has devoted a considerable amount of money generated by the sale of stocks of the Art Technology Group (ATG), an American software company set up by his son Jeet Singh, a trustee of the SAF.
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STUDENTS and their parents have praised some initiatives taken by the Punjab education minister last year to improve the higher education sector.
These measures include the starting of second shifts in government colleges, which have allowed greater enrolment to higher education schools. Access to higher education was previously severely hampered by the lack of space in government colleges. For example, in 2003, 100,395 candidates took the Matriculation examination conducted by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Lahore. Of these, 54,842 passed, but the total number of seats available in the government’s colleges in Lahore was just 26,433.
The government also allowed a 10 percent increase in the number of seats in first year classes. It also provided Rs 2.5 million for research studies to 15 PhD disciplines.
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FOLLOWING in the footsteps of a large group of students from the Keynesian Institute of Management Sciences (KIMS), another big delegation of Lahore Grammar School (MM Alam Road branch) students have just completed a tour to New Delhi. The KIMS students were delighted by the Indian hospitality and treasured their trip to the Taj Mahal.
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THE National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) last week organised a one-day workshop on Grid Computing and Multi-Agent Systems at its Institute of Information Technology. The workshop entailed detailed presentations by national and international groups and the audience included representatives from 12 institutions from Pakistan covering industry and academia. Details about this workshop are available at The workshop carried on NUST tradition of staying abreast of the latest technological advancements. NUST’s participation in international science and engineering collaborations is important for it to keep abreast of new insights and discoveries.
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GOVERNMENT College University (GCU) got third position overall and won eight medals in the Pakistan Intervarsity Weight Lifting Championship, arranged by the Punjab University. GCU student Zeeshan Hussain won silver in one event, while Zahid Wattoo, Zaheer Hussain, Hassan Ali, Kashif Ikram, Syed Saifur Rehman, Ali Butt and Mian Yasin got bronze medals in their categories.
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THE APTECH Computer Education Centre (Defence) arranged a seminar to celebrate the 127th birthday of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The students and staff of the centre attended the seminar that highlighted Jinnah’s contribution to the establishment of Pakistan.
Speakers at the seminar observed that the Quaid’s dream for Pakistan had not been achieved in the 56 years since independence. “We are still involved in trivial issues,” one speaker lamented. Others urged young people to work towards materialising Quaid’s vision of a prosperous Pakistan. —Waqar Gillani