ISLAMABAD: A subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee has been informed that out of over 130 students sent abroad for doing PhDs, 82 did not return to Pakistan after completing their studies.

The subcommittee, which met here on Wednesday with MNA Noor Alam Khan in the chair, discussed audit paras related to the Higher Education Commission (HEC). During the meeting, the committee was informed that 82 scholars had not returned to Pakistan after completing their PhDs, while 52 had been declared fail by various foreign universities.

The committee was informed by HEC officials that the higher education regulatory body had spent Rs955 million on these scholars. They said the HEC had been pursing court cases against them. The committee was further informed that so far only one defaulting scholar had returned the money spent on him by the government for doing PhD abroad.

The HEC officials also revealed that 68 more scholars, who had been sent abroad under the scholarship programme’s phase II, also did not return to Pakistan.

The officials said that after these cases the commission had decided that for availing the PhD scholarships, candidates would now have to pledge their land or house in favour of the government.

The committee said that as most of the students going abroad for doing PhDs don’t have land, house or any other property in their names, the HEC should get guarantee from a responsible and well-off person, who could be taken to task, if his recommended scholar did not return to Pakistan to serve the country after obtaining the PhD degree.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2020

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