Pakistan’s education authorities welcomed a new initiative by Saudi Arabia to grant 600 scholarships to Pakistani students to pursue higher studies at universities in the kingdom. The scholarship programme of the Saudi education ministry was announced by Pakistan’s embassy in Riyadh last week. It covers tuition, lodging, return air tickets, a three-month furnishing allowance for married student, medical care and a monthly stipend of between 850 and 900 riyals for Pakistani nationals to complete undergraduate and postgraduate courses. “It is a great initiative of Saudi government and we want our students to take full advantage of it,” Federal Education Secretary Farah Hamid Khan said in an interview with Arab News. “We will publish it on the website of education ministry on Monday, so that information can reach out to maximum students.” Higher Education Commission spokesperson Ayesha Ikram also welcomed the programme. “It is hoped Pakistani students will avail this to improve their academic qualification,” she said. The scholarships will be available at 25 universities in the kingdom to students residing in Pakistan and those who have been living as expats in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s ambassador to Riyadh, Bilal Akbar said.