UK and LUMS offer 278 underprivileged students a brighter future

Islamabad: The UK Government is helping 278 of the brightest but most deprived students in Pakistan to attain quality higher education this year at the Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS).These students are from some of the poorest areas of Pakistan and would otherwise not be able to afford quality higher education. They are pursuing degrees in subjects such as business, law, engineering and economics.

The initiative aims to enable these young people to get better jobs and so lift themselves and their families out of the cycle of poverty, said a statement of the BHC here Friday.

The British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson said:“Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future. This is a chance to help remove financial barriers and provide these bright young minds with the opportunity to pursue their dreams and build a future free of poverty.

“If well educated, Pakistan’s burgeoning youth population offers a vast mine of talent and productivity, which will help bring prosperity and stability, fuelling Pakistan’s economic growth and global competitiveness.

“This investment will not only benefit the lives of some of the poorest but brightest students in Pakistan, but will also benefit those around them by enabling them to lift their families out of poverty and help inject some prosperity in to their community.”

Dr. Sohail Naqvi, the Vice Chancellor of LUMS, said:“This initiative will change the lives of some of the most intelligent young people from underprivileged families in Pakistan. Our existing financial aid has been transforming lives across Pakistan for many years now: this partnership with the UK will allow LUMS to significantly scale up this support, helping more of the youth to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.”

The scholarships – worth £7.1 million (1.2 billion rupees) – will help an estimated 1,000 of the brightest students from the poorest households over the next five years. The aim is for half of these to be girls. Students are awarded yearly scholarships which are renewed at the end of the academic year if they maintain a minimum level of performance during each semester.

The five-year programme will be managed by LUMS, who will select students on merit and provide financial aid on the basis of need, verified by family income and inspection of applicants’ homes.

As part of the scholarships, students are required to work in their local communities as ambassadors for LUMS, by spreading awareness about the importance of higher education, and supporting other aspiring but impoverished higher education students.

Across Pakistan, the UK is working closely with provincial governments and partners on ambitious plans which will benefit millions of children and improve the standard of their education. This will not only make a dramatic difference to the lives of some of the most disadvantaged girls and boys, but will also benefit their families and communities as they get better jobs and earn more money.