Higher Education Pakistan is currently funding about 35,000 students in universities abroad, claimed HEC Chairman Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed. He made that claim while speaking at the freshmen orientation event at Ghulam Ishak Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology over the weekend.
During his speech, Dr Mukhtar said that as many as 35,000 Pakistani students are studying at various universities around the world and their expenses are being managed by the HEC. He also said that high-tech engineering is the key to Pakistan’s prosperity and that competent manpower is necessary for addressing problems like poverty and catching up to the world.
HEC funds students using their own funds while also allowing a platform for students to apply for foreign funded scholarships like the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Program which funds thousands of scholarships throughout the world.
HEC has been allocated a budget of about 58 billion rupees for the year 2015/16
HEC states that Pakistan is amongst the Top Ten countries which get the most number of merit based scholarships through this program. Pakistan has maintained the tenth spot for the most part of the past decade winning 18 PhD scholarships during 2010-12, 363 Masters scholarships during 2004-11 and a total of 318 scholarships to EU.
HEC has awarded 2,528 foreign study scholarships and 4,108 local scholarships to students during the 2009 to 2014 period. During the same five year period 1,255 scholars returned to Pakistan after completing their PhDs.
HEC has been allocated a budget of about 58 billion rupees for the year 2015/16 which is just a little higher than the 57.5 billion that was allocated for the previous year. The government has allocated Rs. 20.5 billion (Only 843 million higher than 2014) of this amount to HEC for Public Development Sector Programme. 4.6 billion of that amount is for new schemes and 15.9 billion for ongoing schemes.
HEC has awarded 2,528 foreign study scholarships and 4,108 local scholarships to students during the 2009 to 2014 period
HEC allocated Rs. 980 million for Human Resource Development Initiative which allows faculty development for Engineering Universities allowing the faculty to apply for a PhD programme. 800 million have been allocated for Overseas scholarships for MS/M.Phil Leading to PhD in selected fields.
HEC has not detailed the statistics for the current year but previous years’ information does not show such a large number of internal students. HEC has different scholarship programs ranging from 10 percent scholarships to fully funded scholarships for overseas.
It seems uncertain that there are so many students on HEC scholarships but perhaps an official statement or press release will clarify the exact number of students on HEC scholarships and how many of those are actually fully funded by the HEC.