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3,600 scholars suffer as Higher Education Commission runs low on funds

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3,600 scholars suffer as Higher Education Commission runs low on funds

Islamabad, Feb 14: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is facing serious problems in providing stipends to its scholars studying in various international universities, it was learnt on authority.

"The future of 3,600 students, who are on HEC scholarships in various international universities, is already hitting troubled waters. The commission with every passing day is finding it extremely difficult to send their monthly financial support," a well-placed HEC official confided to this reporter.

In a number of cases, stipend is reaching the students with a delay of three to four months, the official said, adding that, "We could hardly do anything in this regard, as the government is not releasing money for the purpose."

So far, the HEC had diverted all of its developmental grants towards its Human Resource Development (HRD) under which it sends students abroad for higher education.

However, things will be turning really scary in the coming months. "Under the commitment, we are supposed to provide money to the relevant universities for our students. Otherwise, they (the universities) could send them back, no matter whether our students are half way through or near to completion of their studies," the official said.

In the ongoing financial year, the HEC needed Rs10 billion exclusively for HRD. However, the expenditure was cut down to Rs7.5 billion by stopping 500 students from proceeding aboard who were duly selected by the HEC for higher studies.

Facing economic crisis, the government had asked the HEC to rationalise its overall developmental budget at Rs16 billion from the original Rs18 billion.

Even then so far the HEC had only received Rs8 billion, which had put it in serious economic crisis. "Besides sending money to our students abroad, the HEC has to pay money against the purchases of laboratory equipments for various universities, hence, it is hardly left with funds to spend on other development projects," the official said.

Only recently, vice-chancellors of the public-sector universities have cried for financial assistance to run their institutions. Considering the seriousness of financial crisis, HEC has asked the government for an education bailout package to save the higher education sector.

If you born poor, its not your fault....But if you die poor, its your fault...."Bill Gates"