Helping deserving students


PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

The state of education in Pakistan paints a bleak picture for the country’s future. Recent surveys of poverty measurement show that a significant portion of Pakistanis are living below the poverty line. Hence, acquiring education often becomes a secondary priority in low-income households, with higher education abroad a lofty dream for most. This creates a wide achievement gap between students from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds — the rich are able to pursue better quality education abroad and often return to find the best job opportunities waiting for them. Those from the lower economic strata who aspire to transform their educational lives into worthwhile careers only become discouraged at this state of affairs. The growing socioeconomic inequalities mean that there is a need for measures that attempt to level out the playing field.

In support of this, perhaps what is needed is a scheme based on the principles of Qarz-e-Hasna, an easy terms loan scheme that could be overseen by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), whereby deserving students from the lower income groups seeking to complete higher education abroad could be helped achieve their dreams. A similar programme was in place during the 1980s, which ran for some years before being discontinued. A scheme based on that particular model could be revived with the help of commercial banks establishing a common pool of funds, which could be used to make loan advancements to deserving candidates. Banks would only need to contribute a tiny fraction of their incomes to this common fund and select deserving students on purely merit. Students would be expected to pay back these interest-free loans once they graduate, return to Pakistan and gain employment. Everyone in the country has a stake in advancing the education prospects of our future generations. Equipping students with the best opportunities possible would enable us to one day recruit that talent and help our economy advance. The authorities concerned, including the SBP, are urged to look into initiating such a scheme for the deserving.


Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1159079/helping-deserving-students/