High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj General Shakeel Hussain reiterated Pakistan’s continued support to enhance capacity building of Sri Lankan youth with better educational opportunities.
He was speaking at a ceremony held under Jinnah Educational Scholarship Programme in this regard. The scholarships worth SL Rs 3.84 million were granted to 160 bright Sri Lankan students of ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels.
Minister for City Planning Rauf Hakeem was the chief guest, while guests of honours included Sri Lankan State Minister for National Integration and Reconciliation. A H M Fouzi, Sri Lankan Higher Education Secretary D C Dissanayake, Buddhist and Pali University Vice Chancellor Prof Gallelle Sumanasiri A number of government officials and other dignitaries participated in the ceremony, besides students and media personnel.
The high commissioner congratulated the students who succeeded to grab scholarships this year. He said people in Pakistan greatly admired Sri Lanka’s remarkable progress in health and education sector. He underlined that Pakistan wanted to expand its cooperation with Sri Lanka in the field of education and hoped that cooperation with Sri Lankan in education sector would not only help improve standards of schools but also the curriculum. He stated that Pakistan had a number of world-class universities, with world-renowned research facilities. “I am sure our universities can accommodate more Sri Lankan students in diverse fields,” said Hussain.
In his address, Rauf Hakeem said that the Pakistan government’s support to the needy Sri Lanka students showed its commitment towards the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He added that Pakistan was a close friend of Sri Lanka and had helped Sri Lanka in times of crisis throughout the history. “This scholarship programme has benefited students from all communities for past 10 years to create better professionals amongst the young citizens of this country.” The government of Pakistan is awarding Jinnah Educational Scholarships since 2005. During past 11 years approximately Rs 45 million worth of scholarships have been awarded for promoting bright Sri Lankan students.
The scholarships are awarded on the basis of strict criteria involving merit and need for financial assistance. The scholarships are named after the great statesman and leader of the subcontinent, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
In addition to the Jinnah educational scholarships, every year the government of Pakistan offers fully funded scholarships in medicine, engineering, pharmacy and dentistry to Sri Lankan students to pursue higher studies in Pakistan.