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20/08/17 00:01

Pakistan scholarship scheme expanded

FM confirms £650k funding for a further two years.

A scholarship programme to give 2,400 young Pakistani women and children the chance of continuing their education has been extended for a further two years.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a further £650,000 funding to the successful programme that has been running since 2013 and was inspired by the courage and determination of Malala Yousafzai.

The Scottish Government, in collaboration with the British Council, has already provided £670,000 funding to benefit 3,400 Pakistani women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme supports children to stay in school by paying for education essentials including books, uniform and transport. It also allows women to study Masters courses in education, health, food security and agriculture, and sustainable energy.

The funding will be split among 400 women (200 each year) and about 2,000 school children (1,000 each year). Forty per cent of the scholarships will be awarded to children with disabilities and those belonging to minority groups. 

The First Minister made the announcement as she participated in celebrations to mark Pakistan Independence Day at a dinner in Glasgow.

Welcoming the funding, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Scotland has an excellent education system that is free and open to all and this government is committed to ensuring equality for women across all aspects of life.

“Unfortunately that is not the case in all countries and, as good global citizens, I am committed to ensuring we do all we can to help disadvantaged women and children in Pakistan get the financial support they need to complete their studies, and secure a more prosperous future for them, their families and communities.”

One recipient of the scholarship Rabia Akbar has successfully completed a Masters in education at the National University of Modern Languages.

She said:

“Without the Scottish Scholarship, I would not have been able to attain my Masters in education and fulfil my dream of becoming an expert in my field.

“I found this scheme through an advertisement in my university. My professor explained how beneficial this scheme was for young Pakistani women facing problems in the way of their study and encouraged me to apply.

“Education is the key to success in life. I will use my own educational experiences to support and encourage children in my village.”