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November 22, 2019

OPF geared-up to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis

Islamabad

 
November 22, 2019

Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) functions for the welfare of Overseas Pakistanis and their families/dependents in Pakistan, under the administrative control of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development, Government of Pakistan. An independent Board of Governors (BOG), appointed by the Federal Government, is the competent forum to approve different welfare schemes in the disciplines of education, welfare, personalised services, housing and health.

In order to assist expats to fulfill their dream of having their own house in a safe and secure environment with easy access to all the important amenities, establishment of dedicated housing schemes for Overseas Pakistanis has been a key focus for OPF. The Foundation has so far successfully completed seven OPF Housing Schemes. Development work at three more housing schemes is in the last phase of completion, whereas another three housing schemes are in the planning phase.

OPF is providing financial assistance to the families of those Overseas Pakistanis who accidently lose their lives or sustain major injuries that render them disabled. Under this death and disability financial assistance scheme, OPF has so far supported families of 11493 Overseas Pakistanis, disbursing more than Rs. 2.25 Billion. This compensation is a lifeline to those families who suddenly find themselves in need after the demise/disability of bread-winners of their families. Through its free of cost ambulance service, OPF takes complete responsibility of transporting remains of deceased Overseas Pakistanis to their hometowns from all international airports across the country.

OPF’s support for Overseas Pakistanis is not limited to its regular activities. Wherever and whenever in the world, Overseas Pakistanis are in trouble, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation has responded and acted according to the needs of emergency/crisis. OPF’s relief activities which ensured full facilitation of affected Overseas Pakistanis in 1990 Gulf War, 1994 Crises and 2015 War in Yemen, 2011 political crises in Libya etc. were appreciated at both national and international level.

For the educational well-being of children of Overseas Pakistanis, OPF has established a high quality education system comprising of 25 educational institutions (4 colleges, 20 high schools, 1 primary school) throughout the country including Azad Jammu & Kashmir. In addition to formal academic education, ample opportunities are provided to students to polish their creative, artistic and leadership skills. OPF also gives great importance to educating children in their national history and providing them with opportunities to study the intellectual, spiritual, ethical and moral values in the light of Islamic guidance. There is first right of admission to the children of Overseas Pakistanis at all OPF Educational Institutions where they can also avail 50% discount in tuition fee. An annual subsidy of Rs102 Million is borne by OPF for facilitating children of Overseas Pakistanis at OPF Educational Institutions.

Moreover, OPF is constantly drawing up new strategies, polices and plans for educational reforms in OPF Educational Institutions. Originally conceived to address the issue of shortage of highly qualified subject specialist teachers in OPF Educational Institutions located in remote and underserved areas, the implementation of OPF E-learning Program (online lectures) has ensured that quality of education provided to students of far-flung OPF Educational Institutions is at par with educational standards of OPF Educational Institutions in Islamabad who have earned a reputation of being one of the most well-reputed institutions of the Federal Capital.

Dearth of good teachers having sufficient experience in teaching Pakistani curriculum is a common problem for a lot of Pakistani community schools abroad. This issue is more serious in countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE where the number of Pakistani students is relatively higher than other countries. In order to address this issue, OPF has recently expanded its E-Learning Program to Pakistan International School Riyadh. Efforts are underway to provide this facility to other Pakistani community schools in other countries as well.

OPF’s efforts for educational well-being of the children of Overseas Pakistanis is not restricted to its own educational institutions. The Foundation has a fully operational scholarship program, Overseas Pakistanis Education Fund, to provide financial assistance to the children of Overseas Pakistanis studying in institutions across the country, from Intermediate to Master level. Since the establishment of OPF Scholarship Program, Rs37.48 Million has been disbursed amongst 13,053 children of Overseas Pakistanis.

In line with the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan and under the able guidance of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, OPF turned around from a loss making entity to a profit earning organisation and OPF has taken various new initiatives to further facilitate Overseas Pakistanis and their families in Pakistan. The major initiatives taken during the tenure of present government include establishment of NAYA Pakistan Calling Web Portal, an efficient Complaint Management System, revamping of OPF Facilitation Counters at International Airports in Pakistan, revamping of OPF’s educational services including launching of OPF’s E-Learning Programme, development of OPF Farms Housing Scheme (OPF Greens) at Raiwind Road, Lahore, collaboration with the British Council for overall qualitative improvements in OPF Education System through Faculty Development Program and participation in British Council’s International School Awards programme in which six OPF schools have already won awards for their excellent performance at par with international educational standards. For professional development of teachers of OPF Educational Institutions, OPF has also signed an MoU with American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence which will provide OPF teachers free online access to its resources of modern teaching techniques and pedagogies leading to an internationally recognisd teaching certification, Chinese Language Classes started to equip students of OPF Education System with proficiency/credentials in Chinese Language to benefit from future prospects of CPEC, establishment of a degree awarding institute in Islamabad to facilitate children of overseas Pakistanis returning to Pakistan for pursuing affordable higher education in disciplines having high employability rate abroad, Health Insurance of intending emigrants in terms of Sehat Insaaf Health Insurance Card to overseas Pakistanis families, establishment of an Overseas Pakistanis Desk at Model Police Station, F-6, Islamabad and establishment of Machine Readable Passport (MRP) facility at OPF Head Office, Islamabad to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis.