‘Jobless’ PhD scholars draw HEC’s attention

HEC plans to host a joint reception for scholars, industry professionals.

Asma Ghani July 31, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has taken notice of the high rate of unemployment prevalent among students who had graduated under its ‘indigenous scholarship’ programme.

Under the scholarship programme, the HEC financially sponsors scholars and places them at various universities. However, they are bound to serve within their home country for at least five years.

The commission announced that it is gathering employment data from scholars who have recently graduated, to determine the total number of unemployed scholars. Following that, a reception will be given to the unemployed scholars where industry professionals will be invited as well.

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PhD Doctors association, a group advocating PhD students’ rights, censured authorities for not creating enough jobs for the students. They had also announced plans to hold peaceful protests if their demands are not met. PhD students, most of them still unemployed, complained that while billions of rupees had been spent on the scholarship programme, the commission had failed to create sufficient jobs for successful candidates.

Young scholars said despite having obtained PhD degrees, they were still struggling to find a reasonable work. Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Commission claimed that several of the scholars had been offered jobs in national universities which they had turned down.

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“If the cities are not of their choice, we are unable to help them,” the spokesperson of the Commission said, adding that they will have to comply with the five-year obligation.

The official also claimed that the data collected so far shows that only a few of them are jobless. The commission has planned a combined activity with the scholars and industry representatives to find out where they can create opportunities, and how the industry can take concrete steps, especially in view of the prospects that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has brought, the official added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2017.

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