MABAD - The fate of almost 4,000 students sent abroad for higher studies on the governments expense by Higher Education Commission (HEC), is put at stake after the relevant quarters turned a deaf ear to their concerns especially with regard to the provision of the allocated funds.
Reliable sources confided to TheNation that Finance Division has stopped 30% budget of 'HEC Scholarship Scheme. Member Operations and Planning of HEC, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, when contacted, confirmed it and said that HEC has received only 10% out of 40% for scholarship scheme.
He said that after the release of remaining 30% amount from the concerned quarters, HEC would able to clear the liabilities of thousands of its scholars.
To a query, he said that more than 50% of HEC budget is being spent on its scholarship scheme.
He said that out of Rs 5 billion of first quarters budget of the commission, HEC has received only Rs 2.2 billion. Dr Mukhtar however expressed optimism regarding positive response of the government to release funds to the commission.
The cold shoulder response from the relevant circles also pushed the HEC into a difficult situation, which according to the sources, took some measures including the revision of the mode of payment with various universities and institutions.
Sources informed that after the repeated requests and revision of the scholarships of these students sent abroad to different world educational institutes, the finance division is now showing little interest in the matter.
According to the arrangements, the government has to provide funds for the project and under that arrangement the HEC has to pay to the institutes concerned as well as to the scholars their tuition fees, stipends and other expenses for a period of one year in advance.
The authorities after successful negotiations with the said institutes first got reduced the time period of advance payment to 6 months and subsequently to three months, but even then they failed to release the required amount for these officially selected scholars.
Executive Director HEC Dr Sohail H Naqvi, when contacted, told TheNation that it was the right time to take benefit from that investment which HEC earlier had made by sending thousands of talented students abroad for qualitative education in the best ranking universities of the world.
It is relevant to mention here that a loss of billions of rupees is expected if the government fails to submit the dues of Pakistani students immediately as a result of which previous investment on these scholars would go in vain.