Higher education: Fortune favours the developed?

HEC officials say those students are given scholarships who meet criteria.

Peer Muhammad May 09, 2011


As many as 2,045 Pakistanis are currently pursuing their higher education in various foreign universities through the Higher Education Commission (HEC). During the last eight years, a total of 674 students returned to Pakistan after completing PhDs in their respective fields, HEC sources revealed on Sunday.

Officials of the commission revealed that most of the students seeking higher education in foreign universities are pursuing their studies in natural sciences including physics, biology, chemistry, engineering and medicine. Other fields include social sciences, business and public administration.

However, the officials said that most of the students selected by the commission for scholarships hail from “developed areas of developed provinces”. The reason, they said is because students from these areas have sound academic background and meet requirements for the scholarships. Resultantly, students from the less developed areas of the country due to their lack of facilities and poor background, they said, “more or less lag behind in the race for seeking higher studies in foreign universities,”

When contacted, an HEC spokesperson said that the commission has set criteria that students need to meet for scholarships in foreign universities, which is why students mostly from developed areas of the country end up qualifying. However, he said that the commission has relaxed this rules to facilitate students belonging to tribal areas and Balochistan.

According to HEC figures, France is the leading country where 476 Pakistani students are presently pursuing their higher studies, followed by Germany with 195 Pakistanis.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2011.


Critical Observor | 10 years ago | Reply The HEC sources will never reveal how many of these scholarship awardees failed in completing PhDs and returned after wating hundreds of millions abroad. And also, their claims about merit-based scholarship are baseless. Even third-divisioners have been sent abroad. In name of developing education sector, the PhD scheme has destroyed this country and its staggering economy.
Ali | 10 years ago | Reply Meritocracy is important here. Sending poor students to study abroad is a waste of money, we should spend our scarce resources on the best students regardless of which province they originate from. When nepotism and political influence sets in and the HEC starts allocating positions by province as opposed to merit then we are better off just shutting down the HEC. When our stuidents go abroad they are only measured by their ability. Their supervisors know nothing about Balochi, Sindhi or Punjabi and rightfully so. We will all suffer if we ham string our most ablest students. Even rich countires like the US and UK allocated positions in higher education according to merit, as they realise the futility of all other systems. If the smaller provinces have grievances then they should improve their primary and secondary educational standards.They have the ability to spend their own budgets and raise taxes so money isn't really an issue. Improved university standards will follow.
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