KARACHI : Twelve candidates from across Sindh collected their certificates and prizes during the pre-departure orientation of the Chevening programme held at British Deputy High Commission office on Monday.
The scholars, who have been selected for the programme that is fully funded by the United Kingdom (UK) government, will be leaving to pursue degrees in master’s programmes in their respective fields.
Shanzae Asif, who is the only female selected for the programme from Sindh, will be studying international conflict studies at Kings College London. Asif had completed her bachelors in political science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). “I applied for London School of Economics, Kings College London and SOAS, University of London and got admission in two of them,” she said. Asif plans to teach in LUMS for two years, as per the scholarship’s requirement, after completing her one-year master’s degree.
Umair Ibrahim, who had completed his bachelors from LUMS and achieved an Architecture degree from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, is also one of the candidates who will be doing his masters in housing and urbanism from The Architectural Association. “I am an architect and have keen interest in studying it deeply,” he said. Ibrahim, who was also teaching at NED University, plans to continue teaching at the university after completing his degree abroad.
While motivating the candidates to serve Pakistan, Chevening Alumni Association of Pakistan’s Sindh head Zafar Siddiqui said to go overseas and study under such programmes is wonderful and the experience is irreplaceable. Siddiqui, who went for his master’s in business administration through Chevening programme in 1999, told The Express Tribune that the increase in number of students applying for this scholarship is commendable. “The number of scholars from all over Pakistan in 1999 was around 40 and it went down to 20 few years ago, but the recent increase should be appreciated,” he said.
Congratulating the selected Chevening Scholars from the region, acting deputy high commissioner in Karachi, Steve Crossman, said, “Pakistan is one of the UK’s top priority countries for Chevening awards.” He added that there are 1,400 alumni of the scholarship in Pakistan. The number of Chevening scholars being sent from Pakistan to the UK has increased from 73 candidates in 2015 to 80 scholars this year, Crossman said at the pre-departure orientation.
The competition this year was exceptionally high and over 2,300 students applied for the programme. “The Chevening programme not only brings immediate benefits for individual scholars, in terms of future career prospects and development, but it also delivers long-term benefits for both Pakistan and the UK.”
Applicants who wish to apply for the programme should have 16 years of education in Pakistan and have good English communication skills. The candidate should also have two years of job experience or 2,800 hours of internship, volunteer work or any other working activity.
The application process for the programme starts every year in August and ends in first week of November, after which the applications are processed and shortlisted by the UK office. This year, around 230 applications were shortlisted and sent to Pakistan by the end of December 2015. Those applications were scrutinised and further shortlisted for interviews in February 2016, which were conducted till April 2016.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2016.