HEC to increase edu access to remote areas

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Islamabad—Mr Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Member National Assembly and Chairman Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) and Senators Usman Khan Kakar and Sardar Azam Musakhel from PMAP called on Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman, Higher Education Commission at HEC Secretariat. Issues pertaining to universities in Balochistan province were discussed during the meeting.
The Chairman briefed the visiting MPs about various HEC initiatives for development of higher education in the province, including different scholarship and R&D opportunities available for faculty members, researchers and students, particularly those people who cannot afford higher education on their own expense.
Responding to the concerns shown by MPs regarding limited scholarships and other opportunities for Balochistan, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed informed the guests that the Federal Government has planned to increase education access to the doorstep, particularly far-flung and less developed areas of the country.
He told the parliamentarians that the universities who have given their consent to establish sub-campuses in different districts include University of Balochistan at Pishin and Dera Murad Jamali, Lasbela University at Wadh (Khuzdar), Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University at Naushki, and Virtual University at Dera Bugti, Harnai, Jhal Magsi, Killa Abdullah and Ziarat.
He said that under faculty development initiative for the universities, there are a total of 375 slots for Balochistan, of which 188 scholarships have been awarded and 63 scholars have completed their studies. Under the human resource development initiative, 1256 scholarships have been awarded while 2494 are under process. Similarly, a total of 2515 Need Based Scholarships have also been provided to the students of Balochistan since 2012.
Under Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme, an amount of Rs. 763.307 million has been reimbursed to 30, 585 beneficiaries from 2012 to 2016. Around 4195 students from the province have received laptops under Prime Minister’s Laptop Scheme.
HEC has also taken steps for development of infrastructure in the higher education institutions of Balochistan.
It has established a total of 259 academic blocks, administration blocks, libraries, hostels, faculty residences, student service centres, gymnasiums and other facilities.
The Chairman also gave detail of programmes under Aghaz-e-Huqooq-Balochistan Package as well as Prime Minister’s Youth Programme. “We believe that significance of youth in any society could not be undermined therefore every possible step is being taken to facilitate our youth,” he said.
Mr Achakzai appreciated HEC for bringing the much-needed change due to its initiatives during the last decade.
He also commended the launching of Education Testing Council (ETC), which will conduct fee of cost tests for university admissions.

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