Monday, November 25, 2019

The National Outreach Programme (NOP) team at LUMS held an Open Day in Quetta on November 6, 2019, which was attended by over 1,000 students, parents and educators. Although similar events have been conducted in other provinces by LUMS, this marked the first of this scale in Balochistan.

Established in 2001, the NOP is a prestigious scholarship that aims to educate brilliant individuals from underprivileged backgrounds from across Pakistan. The NOP team sets out to visit a multitude of schools and colleges in cities, towns and villages all over the nation to inform students about the NOP and how they can make use of this life changing opportunity. To date, NOP scholars have come from 122 cities, making it one of the most diverse scholarships in the country.

In instances where direct visits are not feasible, indirect outreach methods are used. Such was the case in the province of Balochistan, where the prevailing security concerns made direct outreach visits impossible. Consequently, educational partners such as the Balochistan Education Endowment Fund (BEEF) and Balochistan Residential Colleges were sent programme details and guidelines for their students, to ensure that talented students from the Province were made aware of this Programme and would apply.

The NOP team reached out to various stakeholders scattered across Balochistan to gather their feedback about holding a session in the Province. The team contacted BEEF initially and a feasibility study was made in terms of the timeline, venue and expected participation of the session. BEEF initiated conversation with, and sent out invitations to, multiple schools under its helm. The on ground arrangements were finalised and volunteers were requested from the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), to provide assistance during the event.

The Open Day consisted of multiple sessions, with the first kicking-off at 9:30 am. The jam-packed audience was given a presentation about LUMS, its facilities and an overview of the NOP. Participants were also given an overview of the application process for the annual NOP Summer Coaching Session, as well as the timeline for LUMS admissions. All sessions were interactive, and the floor was opened to Questions and Answers at the end of each presentation. Participants asked detailed questions about policies at LUMS and the NOP Scholarship, and also encouraged the team to visit other major cities in Balochistan.

Acknowledging the collaborative effort between multiple internal and external stakeholders which made the Open Day a huge success, Manager NOP Centre, Ms. Shandana Mehdi said, “Mr. Rashid Khan, Ms. Shamshad Kousar, and the entire team at BEEF who communicated with resident schools and circulated collateral on various platforms, were immensely helpful in making the event a success. Mr. Khan’s motivational speech during the session too added depth and gravity to the event. Mr. Sameen Khan, Manager Student Affairs at BUITEMS, provided unmatched hospitality and assistance. Mr. Zia Khan, through Quetta Online, was instrumental in mobilising students. The LUMS community also provided us valuable support; Ms. Hiba Zakai, Manager Campus Climate Unit, LUMS, connected our team with BUITEMS and fostered cross-university collaboration; Syed Izzat Ullah, a LUMS PhD student, helped connect us with over 30 schools and various partners and the Marketing and Communications teams at LUMS ensured that the event is well marketed with the appropriately designed communication.”