The U.S. Congress has passed the ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ which will increase the number of scholarships available to Pakistani women to receive higher education under a merit and needs-based programme.
According to media reports, the bill which was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2020, also got approval by the United States Senate by a voice vote on January 1. The bill now heads to the White House for U.S. President Donald Trump to sign into law.
As per the bill, the U.S. Agency for International Development will be required to award at least 50% of scholarships under a Pakistan-based higher education scholarship programme to Pakistani women, from 2020 to 2022, across a range of academic disciplines and in accordance with existing eligibility criteria.
The bill also requires USAID to consult with and leverage investments by the Pakistani private sector and Pakistani diaspora in the United States to improve and expand access to education programmes in Pakistan.
Moreover, the bill also requires USAID to brief Congress annually on the number of scholarships awarded under the programme, including breakdowns by discipline, degree type, gender and the percentage of recipients who were involuntarily pushed out of the programme for failure to meet programme requirements; and also the percentage of recipients who dropped out of school, including due to retaliation for seeking education.