More than 1,000 Higher Education Commission (HEC) scholars might not be able to go abroad to pursue their degrees because of inadequate funds provided by the finance division.
A source in the HEC told The Express Tribune that the finance division released Rs1.9 billion against the minimum requirement of Rs4.5 billion for the first quarter, which would badly affect the careers of around 4,300 scholars currently pursuing their PhDs and MPhil studies abroad.
The slow process of the funds release is likely to jeopardise the careers of 1,000 new students, who have been selected to pursue their higher studies in various countries.
The HEC official said that the slow release of the funds from the finance division will not only affect the fresh aspirants, but also the scholars currently abroad, as it would be difficult to arrange finances for them.
“Currently, more than 4,300 scholars are studying abroad. If funds are not released in time, the studies of over 4,300 scholars will be badly affected,” the official said.
Rs1.6 million is the yearly expenditure per scholar and the total HEC requirement for Human Resource Development is Rs1.7 billion per quarter to meet this expenditure, according to the official.
“The HEC will not be able to send abroad the recently-selected scholars because we need a guarantee that [funds will continue to be released in the future],” he added.
The official said that HEC high-ups are involved in talks with the Finance Ministry officials to ensure that funds are released on time.
He added that in case of funds shortage, HEC will always prefer to facilitate existing scholars so that they can complete their studies without interruption.
The HEC official added that local universities, too, had expressed “serious reservations” over the slow release of funds to them to meet their recurring expenditures. “We have contacted the finance division officials and told them that the situation is getting worse due to the disruption in the flow of funds,” the official maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.
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