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Ehsaas for Students

The Express Tribune 2019-11-06 08:53:54

The govern­ment’s step for promot­ing financ­ial access to educat­ion is commen­dable indeed­

Developing human capital features prominently among the national goals of Prime Minister Imran Khan. And what else than a focus on education can better help in the context of human development! The Prime Minister has thus expanded his social safety and poverty alleviation programme, called Ehsaas, to include the education sector too. After Panah-gah and Langar Scheme, the Prime Minister has introduced ‘Ehsaas for Students’ that pledges to “ensure that no student is deprived of education just because of financial constraints”. Understandably, due to limited resources at the government’s disposal, the programme only caters to those pursuing university education, covering students’ tuition fee and providing them a stipend.

Under the ‘Ehsaas for Students’ – claimed by the Prime Minister to be the largest ever needs-based undergraduate scholarship programme – as many as 200,000 students from low-income families will be awarded scholarships over the next four years, which means 50,000 scholarships every year. To ensure gender equality and encourage women to be a part of the national workforce, half of the scholarships will be reserved for women. Besides, there is a two per cent quota for physically-challenged students, something that goes well in line with the letter and spirit of Ehsaas. The two quotas are in an indication of the government’s belief in inclusive policies for the development of the country, as rightly claimed by the PM in a tweet.

No statistics are available though, it can be safely claimed that there are lots and lots of students who have to give up further studies just for want of finances. And such unfortunate students include those having the capacity to go places. The government’s step for promoting financial access to education and giving deserving and talented students an opportunity to excel in life is commendable indeed. It does have a remarkable potential to bring notable change in society. But what the authorities concerned need to ensure is that there should be no comprise at all on merit otherwise the whole idea behind the scheme will be lost.

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