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IDB scholarships serve 54 countries
By Aftab H Kola

The Jeddah-based Islamic Development bank, a prestigious international financial institution, has so far granted scholarship to more than 5000 students spread over 54 countries. 

The objective of the Islamic Development Bank Scholarship Program, launched in 1983, is to lend financial assistance to meritorious students who wish to pursue university education and become dedicated professionals with a commitment to develop their community and country. About US $ 40 million has been spent on the scholarships Programme so far since it was introduced 18 years ago.

At present 2382 students are benefiting from this program. While students from India take a big chunk with 627 students benefiting, others include students from Nigeria (286), Pakistan (183), Philippines (148), Kenya (53), Afghanistan (120), Palestine (45), Tanzania (83), China (81) and Eritrea (69).So far 1860 Indian students including the current 627 have been benefited by the IDB Scholarship Program. According to IDB rules, scholarships seats are allotted on the basis of the number of Muslims in a country. An IDB official said recently that in non-Member IDB countries, the conditions of Muslim communities are pathetic largely due to poor education. He said lack of education is a deterrent for progress and if Muslims want really to improve their standards and make a meaningful contribution to the development of their community and country they should pursue education at all costs.

Currently the Scholarship Program focuses on medicine, engineering, agriculture and its related areas, dentistry, forestry and fisheries. But in some Central Asian countries subjects like administration, marketing, banking, finance and 
management as additional subjects have been approved.The Scholarship Program covers educational and living expenses for the duration of studies and is offered as interest-free loans to students who are required to repay it after completion of studies and gainful employment, in easy installments to a Wakf Fund set up by the IDB in each country.
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