In its true essence of strategic collaboration under the Ehsaas framework, the undergraduate scholarships project steering committee gathered for the third time in Islamabad to take stock of what has been achieved so far in implementing this project that was launched by the Prime Minister on Nov 4, 2019 and discuss ways forward together. The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships Project is being overseen by the Ehsaas Scholarships Steering Committee, co-chaired by Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP, and Chairman HEC.
Given that 132,192 undergraduate students (including 49,841 applications of girls) have applied for scholarships through online HEC portal which officially closed for applications on Dec 24, 2019 under the first phase of the project, it was deemed opportune to convene third meeting of the Steering Committee. Following the launch of the project by the PM two months ago, all students from low-income families studying in undergraduate programmes in public sector universities were eligible to apply. The need based cum merit scholarship covers tuition fee and a living stipend.
As part of its mandate to provide the policy guidelines, the meeting specifically reviewed on-the- ground execution progress of the Ehsaas sub-project and next actions to process the applications received from the deserving students. The steering committee also discussed the mechanism for scholarship distribution and disbursements. The scrutiny of applications has already begun since January 1, 2020 and it is envisaged that final selection process will be completed with all 118 public sector universities by end March 2020.
Talking about the Ehsaas Scholarships Project, Dr. Nishtar reiterated, “The government has a strong commitment that no student gets deprived of higher education due to financial restraints. Elaborating the criteria, she emphasized, “According to the policy guidelines approved by the Federal Cabinet on Oct 29, 2019, it will be ensured that this academic scheme holistically benefits girls and differently-abled students as well as those from disadvantaged areas who applied for scholarship.”
“The selection process will be expedited, and transparency and accountability will be ensured in award of scholarships”, assured Chairman HEC.
This Rs.20 billion need-based Ehsaas scholarships project is a joint initiative of BISP and Higher Education Commission (HEC) under which 50,000 scholarships per year will be awarded to undergraduate students (50% girls) from the underprivileged families and areas over the period of next four years.