The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is planning to award 600 master’s leading to PhD scholarships to the natives of Balochistan province.
The government has recently approved the project under the “Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package” on August 30, 2012. The project will cost Rs3138.692 million and is focused towards providing opportunities of access to higher education to financially constrained youth of Balochistan, who despite possessing academic merit are unable to continue their further studies. The offered scholarship would cover tuition costs, accommodation and living expenses of the selected candidates.
The project would supplement the efforts of government to focus over human resource development in Pakistan. It would provide incentives to the talented students of Balochistan to achieve excellence in their area of interest and ensure availability of trained manpower for research and development in the country in basic sciences, agriculture, life sciences and engineering & technology, arts, languages and social sciences.
The project would be helpful in covering two important aspects including recognition of merit and ensuring parity at national level which would lead towards national integration, cohesion and strengthening the bonds of fraternity.
According to the details, 400 indigenous and 200 overseas scholarships for Masters and MS leading to PhD studies would be awarded to the natives of the province. Balochistan is comprised of 30 districts and each district would get its share of foreign and indigenous scholarships on the basis of its population. Furthermore, 25 per cent scholarships have been reserved for in-service government R&D organizations and faculty members and employees of universities, colleges and degree awarding institutions and remaining 75 per cent will be awarded on open merit.
The interesting feature of the scholarship programme is its eligibility criteria, which will directly target the inhabitants of Balochistan, as the candidate must have studied or obtained at least two certificates or degrees from HEC recognised universities and DAIs located in Balochistan province. Preference would be given to the disciplines mostly related to the economic and social needs of the Balochistan province i.e. mining, petroleum, marine and fisheries and agriculture etc.
After completing their PhD degrees, the scholars would be required to serve in Balochistan for at least five years so that educational institutions and industry of Balochistan may get maximum benefits from their knowledge and expertise. The project would be advertised soon in leading newspapers of the country.
Since its inception, the HEC is paying special attention towards promoting higher education sector in the Balochistan province. The main initiatives include special scholarship schemes for the faculty and youth of Balochistan, establishment of well-equipped HEC regional centre at Quetta, number of universities has been increased from 2 to 7 including First Women University of Balochistan and launched special projects for the development of basic infrastructure at higher education institutions of the province including labs, classrooms, seminars rooms, labs, transport facilities, digital libraries, video conferencing facility etc.
The HEC has already awarded 1,200 scholarships to students of Balochistan project “Provision of Higher Education Opportunities for Balochistan & FATA” during the last four years. Under the second and new phase of the project, 1,300 scholarships would also be awarded to the students of Balochistan and FATA. HEC has also arranged foundation course for 684 students of Balochistan at Quetta. To date 66 scholars have completed their studies and among these 7 scholars from Balochistan have shown outstanding performance and have clinched gold medals from leading universities of country i.e. COMSATS, NUST, GC University Lahore and University of Balochistan.
Under the faculty development programme, HEC has accorded approval for more than 360 foreign scholarships for the faculty members of seven higher education institutions of the province. Through this innovative initiative, the younger faculty is enhancing their higher education at the leading universities of academically advanced countries.