National Outreach Programme: Changing Destinies
From the Nominator
The National Outreach Programme is LUMS’ signature initiative to make quality education accessible to all, and is underpinned by a philosophy of “Learning Without Borders.” The programme exemplifies the university’s values of merit, diversity, inclusion, and equity. For the past two decades, LUMS has remained committed to the National Outreach Programme, and has offered full scholarships to one out of 10 students from the most disadvantaged areas of Pakistan. To date, nearly 1,200 students from 136 cities and small towns across Pakistan have been a part of this celebrated initiative.
Given that the average monthly household income in Pakistan is approximately US$220, higher education is not an option for the vast majority of students. More than 10% of our annual student intake represents exceptionally bright students recruited from remote locations across Pakistan. These students are offered full tuition, books, and a living stipend for their entire undergraduate studies. Many of these young scholars become the first to graduate in their families, and endless opportunities open up for them as their lives are forever transformed.
The impact of NOP on transforming students and their communities is both positive and multiplicative. Graduates develop knowledge, skills, and values to go on to graduate schools in top universities worldwide; they raise their own standards of living, and almost all give back to their communities. The broader impact of the programme on the rest of the student body is equally profound. Programme scholars demonstrate an exceptional work ethic and perseverance, and bring languages and micro-cultures that truly enhance the diverse learning environment at LUMS.
From the Judges
The power of intentionality rippled through this entry like a rock tossed in still water. This program's ability—through disciplined outreach and coordination—to identify talent from all parts of Pakistan is impressive. This entry displayed sustainability and growth, and could be a model for organizations and universities globally, if willing to be intentional and make the financial investment. We appreciated the varied layers of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging expressed in the students served. Looking at all of the Finalists in this category, we are optimistic for the future. The creativity and intentionality shown through all of the entries will attract more individuals in creating programming and engagement experiences for communities that have been overlooked and under-resourced.