PESHAWAR: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has announced to receive applications for free-of-cost Matric-level education from the residents of tribal districts (erstwhile Fata) and Balochistan till September 4.

The university administration said in a notification that this step has been taken as part of the university’s consistent efforts for promoting education in the country’s less-developed areas. Necessary funds have been earmarked in the budget for giving fee-of-cost education to the Matric-level students.

The applicants can approach the university’s regional offices, close to their respective areas, for availing the facility. The university had also waived off tuition fee for the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of tribal districts. It also provides scholarships to the deserving students to ensure that nobody should be left without education because of financial constraints.

The AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Ziaul Qayyum hoped that the people from these areas will take benefit of this facility. He said the university is committed to extend them quality education at their door-step, he added. He said the university is already providing free education to neglected sections of the society that includes disabled persons, prisoners, drop-out girls and transgender group.

The number of beneficiaries having fee concession under the university’s scholarship schemes was 20,466 in the financial year of 2018-19, that is the record in the history of AIOU.

In the corresponding period the previous year, the number of beneficiaries was 19, 226.The vice chancellor has recently announced while addressing an academic meeting that financial constraint will be no longer a hurdle in receiving education from the AIOU that caters the educational needs of over 1.4 million students annually through distance learning system.

There are number of scholarship schemes of the university, under which the deserving students take benefit to continue their future study.

As per the policy, if annual income of a student or his parent is less than Rs360,000, he can apply for fee concession in a particular programme under the scholarship schemes, through his respective regional office.

Each desiring student is required to meet certain criteria. The case of fee-concession is finally considered and approved by an assessment committee, set up for this purpose at the regional level.