Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, COMSTECH’s coordinator general in Islamabad on Tuesday announced that the Palestinian students will be provided with 500 scholarships. COMSTECH, an institute established by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1981, is the OIC’s Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation. It was launched to enhance the capabilities of its 58 member states in science and technology.
It is important to note that the new scholarships are not a part of Pakistani government’s annual provision of 100 scholarships. This new program has been launched by COMSTECH to cover research fellowships, technician training and workshop grants for all disciplines.
“These are 500 fully funded scholarships which will be given to undergraduate and postgraduate students in partnership with the Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan, and member institutions of the COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence,” the committee’s media advisor, Murtaza Noor, told Arab News.
The initiative was supported by 24 private and 14 public sector universities in Pakistan, with work on scholarships scheduled to start by “the end of this month”, he added.
The scholarships would be offered in the coming academic year, which is starting from September this year, at majority of the universities.
Noor explained that each scholarship will cost around Rs1,000,000 ($13,600) on average. The amount could increase depending on the discipline and whether the student prefers to study at a private or a public university.
According to Noor, COMSTECH initiated these scholarships to support the Palestinians after years of violence and conflict had “systematically destroyed the educational and socioeconomic infrastructures of the Palestinian state.”
He added: “Higher education is our mandate, and we want to provide them modern education at the best Pakistani universities”. The students’ travel, other logistics, lodgings, academics and all other expenses would also be covered, said Noor.
Explaining the eligibility criteria for the scholarships, he said that students need to be Palestinian refugees or residents of the state of Palestine. The nationalities would also be confirmed with the help of Pakistani embassy.
“For the selection, students shall meet eligibility criteria of the university for their respective discipline,” Noor said.
He explained that COMSTECH is establishing a project management unit in collaboration with universities to implement the scholarship scheme.
Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Rabei thanked Pakistan for allowing Palestinian students to study at its institutions. “We are grateful to Pakistan for opening its educational institutions for Palestinian students,” said the envoy
“Our thanks go to COMSTECH for its initiative in cooperation with the government of Pakistan. These new scholarships scheme will be very beneficial for the Palestinian students’’, he added.