Karachi   ->   Sweden   ->   Karachi, again   ->   Dubai   ->   Bahrain   ->   Karachi, once more   ->   London and Leeds

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Adlerbertska Scholarship

The education system in Sweden is strikingly different from the US (and thus from Pakistan as well). Though they may start charging tuition fee in the next few years, at present they don't - not even from International Students. This has very far reaching affects. Not only that we don't pay the university, we enjoy the same facilities as the local students and each term the university arranges some outdoor activity for the International Students, again free of cost. We have been to Universeum and Gothenburg Opera in the last two terms.

Such an attitude has deep roots in Europe - the culture is of caring and sharing. Perhaps, that's why Europe has most contributors to the Open Source work, around the world. Though there are people who would like these countries to be like the US, apparently such people are very few in number.

In Gothenburg, there used to live a man called Axel Adler (1878-1966). He started working at the age of 7 and later joined the family business of dairy products. He became the company director at the age of 24. After mid-life career, he started studying again; got married; lived in Gothenburg; rejoined family business; restarted studies and finally had a vision for Gothenburg: "a living university town where young people would have access to a rich centre of knowledge and cultural activity." If you visit this small city you will agree that his dream has materialized. Back in his days, he opened a local library in his home and held seminars in many subjects. His farm-house became a centre of new ideas that drew lecturers from the whole of northern Europe.

He established several foundations and to this date, every year one of his foundations gives approximately SEK 4000 to every foreign student who comes to study in Gothenburg. This might seem like a small amount (about Rs. 30K) but consider giving it every year to about 900 students, without any kind of discrimination, just for coming to Gothenburg for their studies!