OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

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Students undertaking preparatory year building test of bacheloar program in Islamic University Madinah. (Photo Courtesy: IIUI Madinah)
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A picture taken on November 17, 2016 shows the national flags of the members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states flying in front of the clock of the Abraj al-Bait Towers which overlooks the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AFP/File)
Updated 15 November 2019

OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

  • The scheme is highly beneficial for Pakistani students, says the HEC chairman
  • COMSTECH spends $250,000 annually on scholarships for Muslim countries

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s education exchange program was highly beneficial since it allowed students to engage with scholars and experts in other countries, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan Dr. Tariq Banuri told Arab News on Thursday.
The commission recently advertised on its website the Turkish Cypriot Government’s scholarships under the OIC Educational Exchange Program, starting the next academic year.
According to the details provided by the HEC, five students from OIC member states, including Pakistan, would avail the opportunity to study at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in the participating universities.
“Such international learning and knowledge propel students toward acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives,” Dr. Banuri told Arab News on the phone, adding the exchange programs brought additional skills, cultural diversity and exposure to other problems and issues.
The HEC chairman informed that the competition for such scholarships was growing, noting that programs like these increased an individual’s “capability to compete in the global job market, created potential contacts for collaborative research and resulted in additional certifications and degrees.”
In order to promote dialogue among civilizations and to provide academic links between the 57 OIC member states, the international organization had started an education exchange program in 2005 which became fully operational in 2015.
Dr. Qasim Jan, adviser to the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Islamabad, told Arab News that there was an immense need to promote cooperation in the field of education among Islamic countries, and the OIC education exchange program was a positive step in that direction.
“Education, especially in science and other technological disciplines, has become a nation’s basic need since a country’s economy is directly associated with technological developments in the modern world,” he noted. “If we look at developed economies like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other western European countries, they do not have much resources but are economic powers due to the knowledge economy that mostly derives from scientific education.”
Dr. Jan said that COMSTECH was providing substantial support to OIC member states in the field of science and technology. He also informed that his organization was contributing in the development of human resource to serve the Muslim world.
“We are spending $250,000 on scholarships annually which are provided to students from 57 Islamic countries,” he continued. “We have also been arranging trainings and workshops for people belonging to the OIC member states. The bulk of our budget comes from the Pakistan government, though we also get financial support from some OIC member countries, including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.”


Russian minister in Islamabad to offer investment in heavy industry

Updated 10 December 2019

Russian minister in Islamabad to offer investment in heavy industry

  • Russians are interested in Pakistan’s energy, oil and gas, defense and steel sectors
  • Russian delegation is in Islamabad to attend Inter-Governmental Commission meeting

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have agreed to expand business and trade ties, with investment in the energy, oil and gas and defense, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar told Arab News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

A delegation of 64 Russian officials, led by Trade and Industries Minister Denis Manturov, discussed the plans with Pakistani stakeholders at a meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Energy in Islamabad on Monday.

“The Russian delegation is here to expand ties with Pakistan and engage in trade and business worth billions of dollars. They are interested in three major sectors – energy, oil and gas, and defense,” Babar said.

“In its first phase, Pakistan is going to auction 12 blocks of E&P (exploration and production) this month. Russians are very much interested in this auction,” he added.

“They have representatives of oil and gas companies with them in this delegation, who discussed different projects and showed interest in bidding for these blocks. We are very hopeful that they will take a few blocks in this auction which would be a first as they have never operated in Pakistan before,” he said.

Russian companies are also interested to build a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore, Babar said. “We hope to sign an agreement on this in the next two months as both sides have agreed on many things. We have many meetings on this and after this visit, we hope all remaining issues will be solved.”

He said Pakistan and Russia have also discussed an agreement, which was signed earlier, for the laying of more than 1,500 kilometers of an offshore gas pipeline that would transport natural gas from Russia to Pakistan.

Babar said Russia has also shown interest in the rehabilitation and upgrading of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and wants to invest $1 billion. He added, however, that “other countries are also interested in Steel Mills.”

Sergey Vasiliev, director of Russia-Pakistan Business Forum who is in the delegation, told Arab News the visit will be good for removing trade and investment obstacles between the two countries, and for improving business to business contacts.

As Pakistan’s image has lately improved in Russia, “Russian businessmen are more interested in the oil and gas and energy sectors,” he said.

“We are discussing collaboration with Pakistan Steel Mills, so new technology from Russia can enhance its production. We are also ready to provide support in the field of agriculture, especially in increasing storage capacity for local food items and fruits.”

A major breakthrough in Pakistan-Russia relations was the signing of an agreement in Moscow on Dec. 4 by Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak and Pakistani Ambassador Qazi Khalilullah, whereby Pakistan will repay its $93.5 million debt to Russia, he said.

On Wednesday, the delegation is scheduled to attend an inter-governmental commission meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.