British Council doubles number of scholarships for Pakistani students

Zubair Qureshi

The International Development Minister for the Scottish Government, Neil Gray has announced to double the amount of scholarships for the Scotland Pakistan Scholarship Scheme for Young Women and Girls administered through the British Council.

The £500,000 additional funding will double the number of school and university scholarships available to women and girls in the worst flood-affected areas, ensuring they can continue their education with minimal disruption.

While commenting on the landmark decision, the International Development Minister Neil Gray said, “We know that during a crisis, such as we have seen in Pakistan, the impacts can too often affect women and girls. We hope by doubling the number of school and university scholarships available, this funding for British Council Pakistan will ensure more women and girls can study and help bolster the country’s long term economic recovery.”

The Country Director British Council Pakistan Amir Ramzan said “Since its launch in 2013, these scholarships have allowed talented women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete their secondary education and pursue bachelors’ and masters’ degrees in fields that are of critical importance to the overall development of the country. The doubling of the amount of scholarships will allow the British Council to continue to empower women and girls who have been affected by the floods and fulfil their aspirations and potential.”

Since it was first launched in 2013, over 1400 young women in the universities stream have benefitted from the Scotland Pakistan Scholarship Scheme across Pakistan. In the schools’ stream over 15,000 school children have been supported.

The Scottish government funds an annual £400,000 scholarship programme for women and girls in Pakistan via the British Council Pakistan. The additional £500,000 will be split between school scholarships (£200,000) and university scholarships (£300,000).

Launched in late 2013, the Scotland Pakistan Scholarship Scheme for Young Women and Girls’ aims to make education at the higher education and secondary level more accessible to underprivileged girls across Pakistan by providing them with scholarships.

The scheme funds graduate studies for Pakistani women in any HEC recognized university across Pakistan. This scholarship is also offered to young girls at secondary level (grades 8-12) providing underprivileged school going girls at secondary level with scholarships, ensuring that their education is not hindered due to financial constraints – an issue that is faced by the majority of girls in Pakistan.

At the higher education level, the scheme provides scholarships in the fields of: Education, Sustainable energy, Agriculture and food security, Health sciences, STEM education (only applicable at Master’s)

The scheme is inclusive and aimed at young women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. A quota has been set for girls belonging to minority groups and for girls with disabilities. At the schools’ level, 20% minority and 20% disability quota has been set. At the university level, 10% quota has been set for minorities and people with disabilities.

According to some key stats, 620 bachelor programme students have been supported from 2019 to 2022. Besides, 1,273 Masters’ students supported from 2013 to 2022. Moreover, 18 PhD students supported in 2015-2018 while 16,424 school children were supported in the period 2013-2022.

In the financial year 2022-23, a total of 24,000 applications were received from universities, and among those, 252 scholarships were awarded to bachelor’s degree candidates, and 205 scholarships were awarded to master’s/MPhil degree candidates. This year, we have granted 2409 scholarships to children in schools. Around 900 students affected by floods were granted Scottish scholarships from Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.