HEC financial matters hit scholars hard

AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education of Pakistan (HEC) internal matters and financial limits hit students hard as a large number of deserving students hailing from far-flung areas of FATA and Balochistan pursuing under and post graduate degrees under Balochistan-Fata scholarship programme of the HEC face tough times in managing their living expenses in Islamabad due to the unnecessary delay in their monthly stipend and tuition fees.Students enrolled under Balochistan-FATA scholarship programme at different universities complained that their semester tuition fee and monthly stipend have been repeatedly delayed by the HEC. However, the officials of the HEC are of the belief that HEC has not been able to send stipend to the scholars since January due to non-release of the development budget by the government and they have been receiving emails and complaints from the students to release their stipend.Several students from belonging to FATA and Balochistan who have been awarded scholarships to study in universities like NUML, International Islamic University (IIU) and Comsat said that they have been facing immense problems due to a delay in the payment. “I was supposed to receive my 12 months stipend in January but I did not due to uncertain reasons. If the situation continues like this then I would be compelled to go back home,” Yasir Iqbal, a student of NUML said. Doda Khan, another student from FATA said that it has become very difficult for a student from FATA to find a reasonable living place at affordable rates in Islamabad. He added that further delay in the HEC’s stipends may push him back toward his hometown as it had become tough for him to continue his studies due to non-payment of tuition fee.A former HEC scholar Jameel Rahman who persuaded a Master degree in a public university said, “Every HEC scholar whether from Balochistan or FATA studying in Islamabad under this programme has to go through his nerves waiting for the HEC’s stipend. I had to suffer for two years as well and no one at the HEC cares about our sufferings.” Balochistan-FATA scholarship programme official Shumaila Shakoor could not be reached despite several attempts to her personal and office number however, Ajmal Ahmad who deals the HEC scholar awarded students at NUML told this scribe that he had sent the acknowledgement reports of more than two dozens students enrolled at NUML under the programme and expects that the students would get their stipend soon.It is pertinent to mention here that the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) in its meeting approved this project titled ‘Provision of Higher Education Opportunities for Students of Balochistan and FATA’ specifically for the students belonging to the less privileged areas. The project meant to provide financial assistance to 1,300 undergraduate and 700 postgraduate students of Balochistan and FATA on merit basis over a period of seven years.

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