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18 February 2020

The Scholarship Scams

Liaqat Karim
The writer in a graduate of NUST, Islamabad. He currently works as Environmental Engineer at a private firm in Islamabad.

We, the GBians belong to an area, where availing a scholarship is considered as one of the great achievements.  This attitude has led many of our students to strive hard to get national and international scholarships. Hence every year dozens of GBians are selected for various scholarships nationally and internationally. However, few people seem to exploit this attitude for their own benefits. From financial scams to abducting teenagers from their villages, this malevolence has prevailed in the area in many forms. The victims of these scams not only lose thousands of rupees but also put the security of their lives on risk. Some rumors were recently heard regarding some school or college level scholarship fraud and some training drama.

These criminals target the backward and distant villages of GB and cash the innocence of the villagers. The farthest villages of all our districts are prone to such risks, though few villages in Hunza and Ghizar seem more susceptible. Nonetheless, keeping in mind the ascending graph of literacy rate in other districts, many villages in other districts may encounter such vulnerability in the days to come.

 It is not the gullibility which causes GBians to be duped but it is the thirst for education and lack of resources to finance their education, which force them to trust anyone offering an aid. The GB government should take educated steps to provide the locals with sufficient resources to fund their education and trainings. Moreover, it should also educate the local residents about such scams through local governing bodies.

We, as individuals, can educate our communities and neighborhoods about the risks of being fooled in the name of scholarships and trainings. In general, be wary of scholarships with an application fee, scholarship services who guarantee your selection, people asking you to keep the things secret, offering you an overnight acceptance, asking for an advance fee and asking about your credit card details or bank account details. Above all, if the selection criterion is very feeble, whereas their offer is very decent, then one should always confirm the credibility of that offer from various sources. If it is not a scam, discussing it with your neighbor, relative or a friend makes no difference. An internet search about the scholarships is a plus in such situations. If it does not exist on internet, than again it shall stimulate some doubt in your mind.
 I realize that the victims won’t be reading all this but I hope that every one of us will play his/her role to eradicate this evil from our society. I would consider any mishap in this regard as the failure of GB government, our organizations, our NGOs, student bodies and political parties. I won’t blame the innocent parents and students, who are unaware of such evils.

I request you all to use all platforms to save GBians from such economic and social calamities.