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Ehsaas scholarships to enhance women empowerment: Dr Sania

September 03, 2021

Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr. Sania Nishtar Thursday said Ehsaas Scholarships would enhance women empowerment through ensuring their increased role in society and businesses, breaking down the barriers.

Dr. Sania was speaking as a chief guest at the HEC-USAID Scholarship event jointly hosted by Higher Education Commission (HEC) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) at the HEC Secretariat.

Under the umbrella of Merit and Needs based Scholarship Programme (MNBSP), USAID and HEC have rolled out 700 new graduate level scholarships for women, talent hunt programme for financially disadvantaged girls, and capacity building plan to support financial aid systems of forty Pakistani public sector universities.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Nishtar said that with Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship programme dovetailed to Ehsaas School Stipends nationwide, the unprecedented scale of Ehsaas assistance allowed Pakistan, for the first time, to look holistically at measures to improve education at all ages from pre-school to under-graduate and everything in between.

Dr. Sania observed, “A country cannot thrive when half of its population is not educated and enabled to fulfil their potential.

Therefore, at its core, Ehsaas aims to empower 10 million poorest women in Pakistan and help them to achieve their potential.”

"Providing financial access to education for the underprivileged populations, Ehsaas is running a need cum merit based Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship programme nationwide offering 200,000 scholarships worth Rs24 billion over 4 years", she said. To-date, over 142,000 scholarships have been awarded under Ehsaas within two years. The Ehsaas Scholarship reserves 50 per cent of its places for women.

By covering 100% of the tuition fees and providing additional stipend for essential living expenses, Ehsaas provides even playing field for all students, she added. Dr. Sania thanked USAID for supporting 700 scholarships and for supporting capacity building in women universities to promote higher education for girls in Pakistan.

USAID has supported scholarships for meritorious but financially disadvantaged students since 2004 through the MNBSP program to assist the Higher Education Commission Government of Pakistan’s efforts to raise enrolment in Pakistani universities and meet international standards. Julie Koenen, USAID Mission Director/Pakistan, Embassy of the United States of America said, “We are pleased to share that in partnership with the HEC, we are more committed to supporting female education.”