The future of thousands of Pakistani students studying abroad on government-funded scholarships is sceptical due to the current economic challenges facing the country. The Higher Education Commission (HEC), which manages these scholarships, has reportedly not received the necessary funds from the government to continue supporting the students.
According to reports, the HEC has requested approximately $62 million to cover the costs of more than 2,800 Pakistani students currently studying in foreign universities. The commission regularly sends scholarship funds to foreign universities, Pakistani embassies and high commissions, and partner agencies to cover tuition fees and stipends. However, due to the shortage of foreign exchange, the government has not released these funds.
The economic struggles of Pakistan have also been reflected in the declining foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). In December, the reserves witnessed an outflow of $294 million, falling to $5.8 billion, the lowest level since April 2014. The total foreign reserves of the country, including those held by commercial banks, stood at $11.7 billion at the end of December.
The uncertain future of these students highlights the broader economic challenges facing Pakistan and the need for the government to address these issues in order to secure a stable future for its citizens. The impact of these challenges extends beyond the students directly affected, as the loss of talent and expertise to foreign universities could have long-term consequences for the country’s development and prosperity.
Without the necessary funding, Pakistani students studying abroad on government-funded scholarships may be forced to return home and abandon their studies. This could have significant implications for individual students and for the country as a whole. The loss of these talented and ambitious individuals could hinder the development and progress of Pakistan in the long term, as they may be unable to contribute their skills and knowledge to the country upon their return.
The economic challenges facing Pakistan are complex and multifaceted, and addressing them will require a concerted measures from the government and other stakeholders. In the meantime, the future of these students remains uncertain, and it is important for the government to take steps to ensure that they can continue their studies and achieve their goals.
The HEC has played a crucial role in supporting Pakistani students studying abroad and providing them with the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge that can be brought back to the country. It is essential that the government and other stakeholders work together to find a solution to the current funding crisis and ensure that these students can complete their studies and contribute to the future of Pakistan.