The seventh Steering Committee for the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship met with the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr. Sania Nishtar in the chair to deliberate its progress and approve its budget for the academic year 2020-21.
The committee approved a budget of Rs. 6.53 billion for 67000 need-and-merit-based scholarships for undergraduate students. The members of the committee informed that 111,685 undergraduates (comprising 42,430 females) had applied for scholarships via the online application portal which had publicly been closed for applications on 30 November 2020.
The committee reviewed the implementation of the program with the 125 public universities as well.
SAPM emphasized speeding up the program. Currently, the evaluation of the applications is underway, however, results will be announced by April.
She also urged the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) to promptly disburse the funds so that the process goes on steadily.
To cater to the medical students, the portal will be opened for fifteen days in March.
Dr. Nishtar remarked, “As part of the Ehsaas policy, 50 percent of scholarship awardees should be girls and 2 percent differently-abled”, to ensure the fair inclusion of all sectors of the society. She said these kids should be given priority in the application process.
According to the federal government, the Rs 24 billion Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship is a ‘ground-breaking program’ that grants 50,000 scholarships per year to undergraduate students—50 percent females— from low-income families, over a period of four years. It includes students from all 4 provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
For the previous academic year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students across the country.
It is being overseen by the Ehsaas Scholarships Steering Committee and is co-chaired by the SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Chairperson BISP, and the Chairman HEC.
The meeting concluded with the decision that the committee will formally start working on the whistleblowing and grievance redressal mechanism for the students in the program.