ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again criticised the 18th Amendment, alleging that it has messed up the process of granting educational scholarships to deserving students.
“When we came into power, we did not know how many types of scholarships were being given in the country because it was difficult to ascertain that after the 18th Amendment which department was granting which educational scholarships,” he said on Thursday while addressing the launching ceremony of a portal at which complaints relating to educational scholarships could be registered at the PM Office.
“Currently, the federal and provincial governments, Ehsaas programme and the Higher Education Commission are giving different categories of scholarships and we are trying to centralise them to avoid problems to students and use these scholarships efficiently for prosperity of the country,” the prime minister added.
“Through scholarships, we can decide the future course of the country’s development. The purpose of the education system should be nation building. The subjects (being taught) should have a connection with nation building…considering the technological revolution,” he said.
Claims 18th Amendment has messed up process of granting educational scholarships to deserving students
Linked with the Prime Minister’s Citizen Portal, the facility would help scholarship holders to register their complaints regarding problems faced by them, besides ensuring the judicious use of allocated resources.
The 18th Amendment was passed during the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government in April 2010 to devolve powers to the provinces.
It was informed that currently the government was spending Rs28 billion to support the education of deserving and competent students. The beneficiaries include around 2.6 million students, with 72 per cent of them being female students.
The prime minister said a team of academics would constantly oversee the portal and guide the government to grant scholarships in particular subjects keeping in view the needs of the market as well as the country.
The prime minister said the government has long been receiving complaints from students for being neglected or facing delay in the payment of scholarships which prompted him to introduce a technology-based centralised system for verification and criteria setting of scholarships.
Mr Khan said the government also launched a Rahmatullil Alamin Scholarship with a view to acquainting the youth with the leadership qualities of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and principles of the Madina State Model which produced great leaders who brought about a great revolution. He said any state, like the Scandinavian, following those principles would excel and emerge as a welfare state.
PM Khan said it was the government’s as well as society’s responsibility to guide the youth towards technology and humanity.
He said the portal would also help save the precious time of students and make them focus on their education who otherwise had to go from pillar to post to register their scholarship-related complaints.
Mr Khan also congratulated the team of the Prime Minister Delivery Unit (PMDU) for putting in their efforts to launch the system and the National University of Science and Technology for setting the education standard in Pakistan.
Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood said the incumbent government increased the number of scholarships under the prime minister’s vision of not depriving any student for non-affordability of fees. He said that over the past three years, the government gave away record scholarships to support future generations.
He said that while giving priority to higher education, the government allocated Rs123bn for the sector, including Rs42bn for new schemes. Moreover, 28 new universities have been established during in the last three years, he added. The minister also lauded the PMDU for keeping a check on the performance of ministries.
Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2022