Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishar Wednesday said the online portal for receiving fresh applications under Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program for the academic year 2020-21 will be open till October 30. In a tweet, Dr Nishtar informed that the aspiring eligible students can submit their applications through an online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/. All students with family income less than 45,000, studying in any year of an undergraduate program in any of the 119 public sector universities recognized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) are eligible to apply. The scholarship applications will have to mention the universities to which they are applying.For the year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students nationwide. The 4-year Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship initiative was formally launched by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Nov 4, 2019.Under the program, every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded scholarships for 4 to 5-year undergraduate degree programs, said a news release. Over four years, 200,000 undergraduate scholarships will be awarded on need and merit basis. The scholarship covers 100% of the tuition fee and a living stipend of 4,000 per month.The geographical spread of the program covers all four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and and Gilgit-Baltistan. As part of the program design, 50% of awardees are girls and 2% of awardees are differently abled. Total budget over 4 years is Rs. 24 billion.The students’ academic performance will be monitored, and subject to satisfactory academic progress, scholarship recipients will continue to receive scholarship throughout their undergraduate programmeHigher Education Commission (HEC) is the lead implementing agency for the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship program. Last year, 132,192 undergraduate students had applied for scholarships through the online portal.The scrutiny of applications received last year to award 50,762 scholarships was finalized early this year with all 119 public sector universities.The project is being overseen by the Ehsaas Scholarships Steering Committee, co-chaired by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Chairman HEC, Dr. Tariq Banuri.A joint monitoring and evaluation framework has been put in place to ensure transparency and equity.USAID-funded ‘Pakistan reading project’ concludes: After seven years of partnering with the Government of Pakistan’s federal and provincial education leaders to?improve the reading skills of more than a million Pakistani school children, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Pakistan Reading Project concluded its programming on September 14.To mark the occasion, education officials from the governments of Pakistan and the United States, along with USAID’s implementing partner, the International Rescue Committee, held a ceremony at the Islamabad Marriott Hotel to showcase the program’s success.?The Pakistan Reading Project (PRP) benefitted 1.7 million children through training more than 27,000 teachers in reading instruction across Pakistan. The project developed and distributed 7.3 million copies of learning material for teachers and students in five languages, including Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Brahui; and two dialects of Sindhi and Pashto spoken in Balochistan.“One of the successes of the project was to further validate the importance of learning to read in local languages in the early grades of school,” said Deputy Mission Director Michael Nehrbass. “Our hope is that the project’s methodology can expand to all public schools around the country through the support of the Pakistan government and PRP’s partners. As we have seen from the schools where the project was successful, this initiative can improve the foundational reading skills of early grades students, which will lead to more success in the later grades.”All of the Project’s material is available on Pakistan’s government education department websites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh, and the Islamabad Capital Territory for free public access. The reading learning materials also are available on the Global Digital Library portal for free downloads at www.digitallibrary.io.