U.S. Congress passes ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’

The U.S. Congress has passed the ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ to increase the number of scholarships for Pakistani women in higher education under merit and needs-based programme. The bill was passed by the United States Senate by a voice vote on January 1. The bill now heads to the White House for U.S. President Donald Trump to sign into law.

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About the bill:

  • The bill requires the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to award at least 50% of scholarships under a Pakistan-based higher education scholarship programme to Pakistani women, from 2020 to 2022, across a range of academic disciplines and in accordance with existing eligibility criteria.
  • The bill also requires USAID to consult with and leverage investments by the Pakistani private sector and Pakistani diaspora in the United States to improve and expand access to education programmes in Pakistan.

About Malala Yousafzai:

  • In October 2012, Malala was shot in the head by Pakistani Taliban on her way home from school. In late 2008, she began making the case for access to education for women and girls despite objections from the Pakistani Taliban.
  • 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”.

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