80 out of 132 Ph.D. scholars, who went abroad on HEC scholarships, didn’t return to Pakistan
They collectively caused a loss of of Rs. 955 billion.
According to the reports, 80 out of 132 Ph.D. scholars, who went abroad after getting scholarships through the Higher Education Commission (HEC), didn’t return to Pakistan after completing their research.
Meeting of the PAC
These statistics were made public by the HEC officials during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when they presented the annual audit report for 2018. The meeting was presided over by PTI MNA Noor Alam Khan.
HEC officials informed that the remaining 52 Ph.D. scholars failed their examinations and returned to Pakistan without getting their degree. In this process, the national exchequer experienced a loss of Rs. 955 billion.
HEC rules require students, who study abroad at the expense of the Pakistani government, to return back to Pakistan and serve for a minimum of five years.
Recovery of financial losses
When asked about the recovery of financial losses from these 52 Ph.D. scholars, it was told that only one student had returned the expenses to the HEC. The commission was forced to begin legal proceedings against the rest of the students to recover the losses. 24 cases have been won by the HEC up till now, while the remaining 27 cases will be concluded soon as well.
HEC’s new policy
HEC has now formulated a new policy. Under this, Ph.D. students will be granted scholarships after they submit the record and original documents of their properties in Pakistan to avoid such situations.
In case a student doesn’t return to Pakistan, HEC would have the authority to confiscate the property.
MNA Noor Alam Khan expressed apprehension over this new policy and said this will reduce the chances of students from humble backgrounds to study abroad. To this objection, HEC officials said most of the 80 students, who hadn’t returned, belonged to the lower to lower-middle class. This is why such a policy has been devised.
The MNA then advised that HEC should allow students, without properties or assets, to submit an attorney or guarantor to the commission in order to receive the scholarships.
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