Senators seek transparency in awarding scholarships abroad

Senators seek transparency in awarding scholarships abroad

The upper house of parliament

adopted on Friday recommendations for

making the process of awarding foreign

scholarships to Pakistani students more


The Senate special committee had

submitted its report on the issue of the

lapse of various scholarships offered by

different countries to the students of

Pakistan brought up by Senator

Mushahid Hussain Syed way back in


Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani then

formed a special committee with the

mandate to deliberate on the issue and

report back within two months.

Since the necessary data from the

various ministries was not available, the

committee requested extension in the

time period to submit its report.

The committee gathered figures from the

Federal Education and Professional

Training Ministry, Higher Education

Commission (HEC), Economic Affairs

Division (EAD) and Foreign Affairs

Ministry on the foreign scholarships

offered to Pakistan students.

The record presented by the institutions

showed that in most cases, the HEC,

which advertises the scholarships, causes

some delays and after scrutiny of

candidates, the list of nominees is sent

back to the ministry concerned, which

then transmits the names to the donor


The Senate committee reported the major

fault in the delay leading to lapse of

certain scholarships was the lack of

coordination among various ministries

and the HEC. With properly defined

standard operating procedures, the

whole process required a single point of

responsibility to turn into an expeditious

system, the committee stated in the


The panel underlined there should be a

focal ministry that keeps a watch on the

whole process, monitors the data, sends

the same to the HEC and expedites the

process of sending the successful

nominations back to donor agencies.

The committee observed the most

appropriate ministry to be the focal

ministry was the Federal Education and

Professional Training Ministry. The HEC

is also associated with the said ministry

and the question of scholarship pertains

to this ministry.

The committee recommended the

government should communicate to all

donor agencies that nomination of

foreign scholarships be sent to the

education and professional training

ministry so that inordinate delays and

unnecessary red-tape is avoided.

Expressing satisfaction with the

proceedings of the committee and the

government’s response, Senator

Mushahid said there should be a

dedicated website with information on

scholarships so that anyone in Pakistan

can have access to it.

Senator Saeed Mandokhel suggested

reserving a quota for smaller provinces

such as Balochistan and Khyber-

Pakhtunkhwa to encourage youth from

these areas. He added that a website for

this process could help make the process

more transparent.

Senator Noman Wazir also endorsed the

idea of reserving provincial quotas for

foreign scholarships.

Rabbani lamented the Article 27 proviso,

which deals with quota, had lapsed in

2013. “The callous attitude of the

government can be seen from the fact

that the bill is still pending in the

National Assembly. For the time being,

there is no constitutional cover to the

question of quota,” he said.

The Senate has constantly reminded and

pleaded with the government to get the

bill passed from the assembly but it vain,

he added.