ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view the findings of an assessment study conducted under Ehsaas, efforts will be made towards refining systems for effective execution of the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Welfare Dr Sania Nishtar said on Monday.
Representatives of the government’s social protection programme Ehsaas and Higher Education Commission (HEC) agreed to convene a vice chancellors’ conference to devise a transparent and comprehensive strategy for the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project.
This decision was taken during a meeting at the HEC headquarters, which was co-chaired by Ms Nishtar and HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri.
Policy questions, financial impacts, sustainability features and refinements needed in light of the assessment study for the project, conducted under the Ehsaas umbrella, came under discussion. The assessment study for the project has been prepared jointly by Ehsaas and HEC.
The assessment covered 35 public-sector universities across all provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory. Under the study, the eligibility criteria for selection of students by the respective Institutional Scholarship Award Committees of the universities were assessed.
The study revealed that the programme provided a level-playing field for students from low-income households nationwide. Participants were told that 138,000 scholarships were awarded to students enrolled in four-to-five-year degree undergraduate courses at 129 public universities in two years.
Students with a monthly family income below Rs45,000 were eligible to apply, and scholarships were given out based on need-cum-merit. Around 50pc of these scholarships are reserved for girls.
The results of the study also highlighted the need for categorisation of universities based on their performance under the project. Members of the committee discussed capacity building plan for universities with weak compliance systems.
Lauding the quality of the programme, Mr Banuri commented, “Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship is one of the landmark projects of the federal government to support higher education of low-income students.”
The scholarship award process for the current financial year was also discussed under which 122,744 applications have been received through the online portal.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2022