ISLAMABAD - The government of France through its Embassy in Pakistan has announced the grant of Rs 40 million to support a scholarships programme for 200 needy university students at undergraduate and graduate level.

This is the second phase of the programme that has already been financed in 2012 by the French government. In close collaboration with the Higher Education Commission and 10 Pakistani universities, these scholarships will be granted to the meritorious but unprivileged students. A particular attention will be given to gender balance, in order to facilitate women's access to high education.

Philippe Thiébaud, Ambassador of France to Pakistan, organised the launching of the 2013 needs based scholarship programme on Friday at the French Embassy in Islamabad in presence of the HEC Chairperson, the Vice Chancellors of the participating universities, selected students of previous program funded by the French Government.

Philippe Thiébaud and the Acting Chairperson HEC Engr Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani signed the document of agreement.

These scholarships will be offered in the fields of social and basic sciences, architecture, information technology, telecom and business administration.

The participating universities are Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, COMSATS Institute of Technology, Islamabad, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Institute of Business Administration, IBA-Karachi, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Institute of Business and Management, Karachi, University of Haripur, Haripur Hazara, Frontier Women University, Peshawar, and Qaraquram International University, Gilgat-Baltistan.