A surge in the number applications for MPhil and PhD scholarships has led the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government to decide on a revision of its financial aid programme for scholars, The Express Tribune has learnt. K-P Secretary for Higher Education Farah Hamid Khan told The Express Tribune that PC-1 of the higher education department’s (HED) financial support plan for faculty members of educational institutes will be revised due to the unexpected number of applications received this year. “We want to accommodate all the students within the resources available to us,” she said. According to an official of the HED, the decision was made after the number of applicants crossed 900, three times the number of expected applications. On October 2, 2013, the HED launched the Faculty Development Support Programme (FDSP) and offered scholarships to students pursuing higher studies. The programme was allocated Rs100 million, however, considering the increased number of applications received this year, the HED has decided to revise the PC-1 for the FDSP. Initially, Rs0.5 million was being given in financial support to students of Masters of Studies (MS) and MPhil (2 years) which included Rs12,000 as a monthly stipend, Rs50,000 per year for reference books, software, internet, stationery, lab use and Rs65,000 for laptops. Meanwhile, Rs1 million was given to scholars pursuing a PhD (4 years), which included Rs50,000 per year for research, Rs5,000 per year for books allowance, Rs10,000 for thesis charges and Rs3,000 for evaluation of the research from abroad, once it is completed. The revision is expected to provide scholars with financial aid in lump sum, instead of recurring instalments,” said the HED official. Currently, we have 270 applications from MS and MPhil students and we have decided to give each student Rs0.2 million,” the HED official said, adding Rs0.3 million will be provided to each of the 120 PhD applicants. We will make use of the allocated budget to enable students to continue higher education,” he claimed, adding the HED has been focusing on preventing brain drain from the country. The official further said the department would support talented scientists in publishing their research, establishing links with private sector universities for faculty development and scientific pursuits.
Source: The Express Tribune