More Scholarships

Scholarships cannot solve the problems of our education sector but can provide life-changing opportunities for a select few. Now, more than ever, Pakistan needs such interventions.

Pakistan’s public sector universities are grappling with severe financial issues. Over the years, the recurring budget for higher education has barely increased, failing to keep pace with inflation or the growing demands of universities. Pakistan’s ailing economy compounds the problem as the education budget is slashed further each year.

Compared to other South Asian and Islamic countries, Pakistan’s investment in education is remarkably low. The recent Economic Survey of Pakistan shows that only 1.5% of the GDP is allocated to education, starkly below the 4-6% recommended by UNESCO. In contrast, India and Bangladesh spend about 4-5% of their GDP on education. This significant disparity results in subpar educational quality and accessibility in Pakistan, with widespread issues such as inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of teaching staff, and limited research opportunities. Foreign education from reputable universities has also become a pipe dream given the rupee’s devaluation. Only the upper class can afford such expenditures.

Amid these challenges, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s initiatives offer a ray of hope. The approval of the ‘Punjab Honahar Merit Scholarship Programme’ will increase the number of scholarships from 4,000 to 25,000. Although this is a significant increase, it is still too small for millions of Pakistanis.

Given Pakistan’s already low education budget and recent cuts, these scholarships are vital. They offer crucial support to the most deserving students, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds, and represent a significant step towards addressing educational disparities.

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