ISLAMABAD, Jan 16 (APP):Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood on Thursday inaugurated “Arts and Culture Scholarship program” here at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS).

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the minister said that under the program a total 400 scholarships would be awarded in current year with total of Rs. 76 million allocations.

He said that this was a unique initiative by the Ministry through National Endowment Scholarship for Talent (NEST), to promote Arts & Culture in Pakistan, including diverse fields like Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, Ceramic & Textile design.

The minister said that the main objective of this program was to provide scholarships to the needy and talented students, focusing on neglected areas in Education.

β€œThis is in line with the Government Policy for providing vertical mobility to the most vulnerable segments of Society and to eradicate poverty” Shafqat Mehmood added.

He said that Arts and Culture are important because it preserves our heritage, adding that art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time.

The minister said that the first stage of the program comprises upon 400 scholarships for current Year 2020. β€œWe have included 15 top Higher Education Commission (HEC) recognized and Degree awarding Institutes of Pakistan both from public and private sectors” he said.

Shafqat Mehmood said that six months before this idea was discussed and today inaugurated the scholarship program for the students of art and culture. He said that this was start and it will be further expended in future. He said that Pakistan has rich cultural heritage. He said that government would provide enabling environment for the promotion of art and culture in the country.

Shafqat Mehmood expressed desire that his ministry departments including Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and Lok Virsa also start programs in collaboration with educational institution.

The minister also appreciated the educational institutes for extending cooperation in implementing this program.

Secretary Federal Education and Professional Training Dr. Sajid Yoosufani also spoke on the occasion, he said that being neglected field with limited scholarships, yet having talented students who could not afford admission fee, this program will enable such students who could be able to complete their studies and enhance their skills.

Dr. Murtaza Jafri speaking on the occasion said that it was his dream and he feels proud that this program was initiated by the government.