Pakistan: The Pakistani chapter of COMSTECH, an institution founded by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), will offer 500 fully financed scholarships to Palestinian students over the next two years.
COMSTECH is the OIC’s Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which was established by 57 OIC member nations during the platform’s Islamic Summit in Makkah in 1981.
One of its primary objectives is to improve member nations’ scientific and technological capabilities.
Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, COMSTECH coordinator general in Islamabad, initially announced the scholarships on Tuesday.
The new scholarships are distinct from the Pakistani government’s yearly scholarship program, which awards 100 scholarships each year. This new initiative from COMSTECH will include research scholarships, technical training, and workshop funding across all fields.
“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.
He went on to say that the effort was backed by 24 private and 14 public institutions in Pakistan, with scholarship work set to begin “by the end of this month.”
Noor added: “It will be offered in the coming academic year, which is starting from September this year, at most of the universities.
“Each scholarship will cost around Rs1,000,000 ($13,600) on average,” he explained, adding that the amount “could go up depending on the discipline and whether the student planned to attend a private or a public university.”
According to Noor, COMSTECH started the effort to help Palestinians after years of bloodshed and war had “systematically devastated the Palestinian state’s educational and social infrastructures.”
He added: “Higher education is our mandate, and we want to provide them modern education at the best Pakistani universities,
“We will cover (the) students’ travel, other logistics, lodgings, academics, and all other expenses.”
Students must be Palestinian refugees or inhabitants of Palestine to be eligible for the scholarships.
“For the selection, students shall meet eligibility criteria of the university for their respective discipline,” Noor said.
He said that COMSTECH is forming a project management team to execute the scholarship program in cooperation with institutions.
“We will also involve the Palestinian Embassy in Islamabad in the selection process to verify the nationality of these students,” Noor said.
Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Rabei thanked Pakistan for allowing Palestinian students to study at its universities.
“We are grateful to Pakistan for opening its educational institutions for Palestinian students,” the envoy said.
“Our thanks go to COMSTECH for its initiative in cooperation with the government of Pakistan. This new scholarship scheme will be very beneficial for the Palestinian students.”