Future of 400 fresh scholars bleak

Future of 400 PhD students, who were supposed to depart to start studies abroad this month, seems bleak.

Maha Mussadaq October 12, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Although funds expected by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) would provide instant relief covering critical items like the completion of ongoing scholarship programmes, the future of 400 PhD students, who were supposed to depart to start studies abroad this month, seems bleak. The HEC is facing serious budget cuts, which led 72 public universities across the country to close down in protest, and its officials have clarified that whatever money they will get will be invested in securing the future of those completing their PhDs abroad.

The total number of PhD degree holders in Pakistan is the lowest in South Asia.

“We need to increase this number, but with the current status of the economy even a low target seems unachievable,” HEC Chairperson Dr Javaid Laghari told The Express Tribune.

The growth and enrollment of 17- to 23-year-old students in institutions across Pakistan is only five per cent which is as bad as some African countries, 2.5 per cent less than India, and six times lower than Malaysia and Turkey.  “This whole phenomenon is affecting the GDP. We have to make five-year and even 20-year plans today. The plans are made but sufficient funding is not available, and the crunch will hinder the country’s progress,” said Laghari.

Highlighting the fact that the process of application and selection starts a year in advance of scholarships, Laghari said that the funding for the 2011-2012 period is facing a similar problem.

He pointed out that the students were prepared to leave, but now they will have to face the colossal issue of wasting their time and potential.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2010.


Waqar A. Qureshi | 11 years ago | Reply In my view point, the idea of sending meritorious students on such scholarships is in favour of Pakistan. This tree would fruit the country anyway. Some people strictly demand the return of these scholars to Pakistan and serve the nation and some advice them not to return as the economic, political and security situations are not good for them not even for their families. Some of the scholars might decide not to come back (actually they should), but even if they do not come back they are benefiting the nation in various ways; They have their roots in Pakistan and they would start sending a huge amount of foreign remittance to country and can actually contribute to multiple times of the amount what they were invested during their education. This would only take few years. They would not stay in any country if they have a better job offer or position. In order to progress as a nation we need our ambassadors in foreign soil who could help students, professional in our country to grab opportunities. People who stay in foreign soil would be a greater source of opportunities in foreign universities, industry and governments. This would further improve Pakistan's relation with external universities and increase research collaboration as well. On the other hand, they eventually come back to Pakistan after spending a certain period of their career and may start various institutes, consultant firms and companies. This would be the best use of their foreign experience. Having said the above argument, I am not supporting the idea that HEC Scholars should not come back but I strongly believe that they should. However, even if they do not come back, the investment is not wasted at all. The purpose is to defend these HEC Scholarship Projects. They should not be stopped with the fear that scholars might not return and it would be waste of money. Some of them would return immediately and start serving the nation and would be helpful in finding immediate solutions while others who do not return immediately would be helpful in progress of Pakistan in longer run. I believe, all of us love our country very much and want to see it serve it.
Waqar Shahid Qureshi | 11 years ago | Reply I think It was a very good plan from HEC to send people abroad and then come back after sutdies to serve pakistan better, In many ways, pakistan is far behind even with those countries who were behind us 1 decade back, So, studying abroad help us to explore and give exposure. So it is worth a task. And I think people do come back and the returning ratio is good. You always have some black sheeps, but the overall ratio is good, and others who are still abroad want to come back and server their homeland in a better way. kind regards Waqar Shahid AIT Thailand
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