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US Congress Passes ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ For Pakistani Women

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The  ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ which was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2020 has now been passed by the United States Senate by a voice vote on January 1.

This scholarship act by Malala Yousafzai will increase the number of scholarships offered to Pakistani women on a larger scale to receive higher education under a merit and needs-based programme. 

Presently, the bill is heading towards the White House for US President Donald Trump to sign into law.

Also Read: Afghanistan:Journalist And Activist Malalai Maiwand Shot Dead By Gunman

The bill needs the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) to award a minimum of 50 percent scholarships from 2020 to 2022 under a Pakistan-based higher education scholarship programme for Pakistani women within the country. This will range in accordance with the existing eligibility criteria and academic disciplines.

Additionally, the bill will also need USAID to consult and leverage investments by the Pakistani private sector as well as Pakistanis residing within the United States to boost and expand access to education programmes in the country.

The USAID is liable to brief Congress annually on the report of scholarships awarded under the programme. This shall also include breakdowns in categories of gender, discipline and degree type. The report will be inclusive of the percentage of recipients who were involuntarily pushed out of the programme for failure to meet programme requirements as well as the percentage of recipients who dropped out of school, including due to retaliation for seeking education.

Also Read: Malala Yousafzai Comes Up With Her Book Club ‘Fearless’

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, “I’ve expressed concern about the falling state of education in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan for years and the subsequent rise of madrasas that prey upon the disenfranchised and breed radicalism.” He further said, “The prime goal of this bill is to help educate women and girls; a long term step which will help stabilize societies, promote economic growth as well as advances the US national security objectives.”

Yousafzai, who is presently 22 has survived a nearly fatal attack by a Pakistani Taliban almost eight years ago who shot her in the head while she was on her way from school.  On October 10, 2014, Malala shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi for her “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.

Also Read: Malala Yousafzai, Shabana Azmi Among Global Leaders Demanding Free COVID 19 Vaccine Worldwide

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