* Commission has allocated a sum of Rs 300 million in fiscal year 2016-17 for different new schemes, including the scholarships
ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has announced the PhD scholarships for the Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) nationals for the academic year 2016-17.
According to the details, the HEC under the indigenous PhD fellowship program offered scholarships for PhD studies for the interested students across the country. The Commission offered the applications for all disciplines including engineering, information technology (IT), management sciences, business education, arts and humanities, social sciences, agriculture and veterinary sciences, biological sciences, medical sciences and physical sciences. In the said announcement, HEC did not mention the total number of available seats for scholarships. Chairman HEC, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed despite repeated efforts could not be reached to give comments regarding the matter. However, while talking to Daily Times an official in the HEC said that the total number of seats for PhD scholarships was 1000. “This figure is just for this Phase under the indigenous PhD fellowship program many scholarships were being offered in different Phases”, he added.
The announced scholarships are purely local based. After passing through the prescribed criteria the selected candidates would be given admissions in the local based universities recognized by the HEC. As per the commission’s website, there are around 180 recognized universities and Degree Awarding Institutions being functioned across the country including AJK.
Although the development budget of the HEC could not be raised significantly, the commission included in its budgetary policy that it would be spent more in respect of annual scholarships, added HEC sources.
According to the budgetary documents, the HEC has been allocated funding of Rs 300 million in fiscal year 2016-17 for different new schemes including scholarships. Moreover, in the budget Rs 297.981 million separately has been reserved for strengthening and up gradation of the Universities of less developed areas of the country.
The information available suggests that heavy irregularities come under scene in HEC’s foreign based scholarships. Many scholars went abroad while availing scholarships for study purposes while despite submitting the affidavits/surety bonds they did not return back.
The HEC failed to trace and punish such scholars under its declared authority that caused loss of national kitty.
For example, it was revealed in the last audit conducted by Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) that the HEC lost Rs 55.11 million from national exchequer due to none returning back of the scholars in the country.
These six scholars belonged to COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) and Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) and they went abroad under Human Resource Development Program Scholarship Award program of HEC to peruse their PhD studies.
The 5 faculty members were from CIIT that resulted monetary loss of total Rs 43.79 million spent on them by the government of Pakistan.
While one faculty member was from PIEAS and his none arrival back in the country caused loss of Rs 11.32 million that has been spent on him from the national exchequer. This issue was also raised on the floor of house by lawmakers.
In recent past, chairman HEC Dr Ahmed said in a press briefing that the commission is trying to trace such scholars. “We do not have any specific prerogative in this regard. However, we are doing utmost as they can by using every possible tool to capture such violators faculty staffers”, he added. Courtesy aily Times