The future of Pakistani students who are studying in China is in the doldrums due to continuous delay in the release of scholarship funds. Chines Language Scholarship was an initiative of ex-Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. Under this scholarship program, 500 students were to get enrolled in different universities in China in four phases.
However, the students of the first three phases have completed their coursework. The students of the fourth and last phase are still registered in different cities in China. These students are facing difficulties due to delays in the release of scholarship funds for the last two months. These students are borrowing money from the locals and their Chinese teachers to bear the expenses of food and traveling. Even these Chinese people now are demanding the return of their borrowed money.
“The funds are halted after PTI’s coming into power”, tells Ahsan Naeem to BBC. He further tells that he receives 2800 Chinese Yuan (equivalent to 60,000PKR) through Bank of Punjab. He also claims that scholarship funds were not received in November last year. However, funds were provided after the news appeared on the media.
“Funds are now lingering on since April and we are lending money from our Chinese friends. Some of us are getting their finances from their homes but not everyone can do the same because of their middle-class backgrounds. Some of the students used to send the scholarship money to their homes. Shanghai is a very expensive city and we badly need money”, says Ehsan.
Ehsan further tells BBC that we can’t do a part-time or full-time job here because this is against Chinese law. He also says that every one of the students now has to pay back an amount of almost 2,000 Chinese Yuan.
Atiya Aslam who is studying in Beijing Language and Agriculture University told BBC that she’s getting verbal consolations since after the month of April. She says that she had received 40,000 rupees from her home within two months due to an existent financial constraint.
Another student from Hebei Normal University of China Farhan Sabir told BBC that when he talked to the focal person of Foreign Ministry Dr. Saqib then he informed that funds are available but the in charge of the Punjab Education Department is not dispatching these funds.
When Dr. Saqib was communicated for confirmation, then he viewed that funds are temporarily stopped by the Government of Punjab and will be dispatched to the students as soon as they become available. Provincial Minister of Punjab Raaja Yasir Humayun tells that he has been in London for two months and he also alerted to the Department of Finance regarding funds which couldn’t be transferred due to some problems. He asserted that the said funds will be given to students before eid.