PESHAWAR: The Finance Department of Khyber Pakhtukhwa (KP) has declined to consider the degree of Masters of Science (MS) degree as equivalent to the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) for the scholarships of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The move came after the officials contacted the finance department for the purpose of explanation on the notification No.FD/SO (SR/WI)/8-14/2016 which stated that students possessing M.Phil degree only will be eligible for the scholarship. The officials strongly reacted over the notification that ousted and declared the degree of M.S not equal to M.Phil and termed it as against the rules and regulations of Higher Education Commission (HEC). The KP Finance Department reiterated its stance again in this regard and issued a second notification that states as “M.Phil allowance is admissible only to those employees who possess/ acquire the degree of M.Phil recognized by the HEC and there is no provision about admissibility of such allowance for other qualification equivalent to the M.Phil degree”. The notification available with Daily Times spread resentment and confusion among the scholars and officials staff of FATA. Speaking to this scribe on the condition of anonymity, senior official of the FATA secretariat criticized the finance department for its ill-professional approach towards the students and scholars belonging to the FATA region. “The 18 years education in the relevant discipline is higher education whether it is MS/ M.Phil or any other degree,” he maintained. He said that M.Phil higher education employees are given this financial benefit for their higher education while those having higher 18 years education are deprived of such financial incentives. According to HEC rules for the universities after 16 years schooling any degree in the relevant field involving 18 years of schooling is equivalent MS/M. Phil degree. The deprived employees are very discouraged and disappointed from this discrimination policy of the Government the official claimed. He said hundreds of students of MS would be ousted from gaining the scholarship as the finance department was not ready to amend its notification as per the HEC rules. However, when contacted the finance department for the comments the officials of the department shown anonymity from any notification that has been served to FATA secretariat in this regard.