ISLAMABAD: The British government will provide scholarships for 7,500 of the poorest but brightest schoolgirls in south Punjab. It was announced by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton.
According to the British High Commission, the announcement was made by the high commissioner in Lahore on Monday. The girls will receive stipends of up to Rs3,000 (approx £17) per month which will be transferred by bi-annual electronic payments to cover fees, books, transport, and other costs. The two-year scholarships will enable high-performing girls from poor families to continue their education, which they would otherwise not be able to afford.
Philip Barton said that the education was the single most important factor that could transform Pakistan’s future. “These scholarships remove financial barriers and provide bright young minds with the opportunity to pursue their dreams and build a future free of poverty. Investing in girls and women is transformational — for their family, their community, and for the country. Girls who stay in school for longer go on to have healthier children and a more prosperous future,” he added. These students are selected from 11 of the poorest districts in Punjab. A total of 27,500 girls will receive scholarships over the coming six years, thanks to £10.9million (nearly Rs2 billions) of funding from the UK Government’s Department for International Development.
The scholarships are provided through the Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF), run by the Government of Punjab since 2008. The UK’s support allows PEEF to scale up activity and focus on the less developed districts in southern Punjab. Women and girls remain at the heart of the UK’s development work in Pakistan.
Education is beneficial for girls since each extra year of schooling can help increase their wages by up to 20 percent — allowing them to get better jobs, earn more money, and help lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
In the meanwhile the high commission has said that across Pakistan, the UK is working closely with federal and provincial governments and partners on ambitious plans, which will benefit millions of children and improve the standard of their education. Pakistan is now one of the UK’s largest recipients of development investment.