Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Syed Aminul Haq, recently revealed plans to offer 45,000 Google scholarships to Pakistani students. The number of scholarships is set to increase significantly to 450,000 in the coming year.
These scholarships will prioritize women, with at least 40% of the awards reserved for them. The Minister mentioned that Google Strong provided only 15,000 scholarships last year, but this number was raised after thorough consultation. The IT Ministry is dedicated to realizing its 2050 vision and has been actively working towards it.
Pakistan has seen substantial growth in funding for the IT sector, with an increase from $75 million in 2020 to $373 million in 2021. In line with this, the Federal IT Minister has inaugurated a state-of-the-art gaming and animation building at NED University, costing $1.6 million. This initiative aims to encourage and strengthen the gaming and animation industry in the country.
Since assuming office, Syed Amin ul Haq has introduced a mobile phone policy, leading to the launch of a mobile phone manufacturing industry in Pakistan. Smartphone production commenced within a few months, emphasizing the importance of research and development in the field of information technology. Startups have also played a crucial role in the sector, as many successful projects have been transformed into established businesses.
According to Zubair Chhaya, Deputy Patron of KATI (Korangi Association of Trade and Industry), IT exports were valued at $1 billion when Minister Amin ul Haq took office. However, by the end of the last fiscal year, exports had increased to $2.6 billion. Pakistan’s IT exports have shown positive growth, although they are still considerably lower compared to the neighboring country, which recorded exports worth $149 billion.
During the announcement, Nighat Awan, Senior Vice President of KATI, suggested that duties on machinery and IT sector products should be abolished to facilitate further growth in the industry. It is hoped that the government will seriously consider these recommendations and take steps to reduce taxes.
Interested applicants for the scholarships will be required to apply online through the Generation Google Scholarships Portal. Please note that applications submitted through other modes will be rejected. Although the portal is currently not open for Pakistani students, as it is accepting applications from other regions, specific dates for application opening and deadlines are yet to be announced. For more information, you can visit the “Build your future with Google” page.