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S. 120 (113th): Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jan 23, 2013 (Introduced).


II

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 120

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 23 (legislative day, January 3), 2013

(for herself and Ms. Landrieu) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

A BILL

A bill to expand the number of scholarships available to Pakistani women under the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ .

2.

Findings

(a)

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

On October 9, 2012, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan on her way home from school.

(2)

When Malala was 11 years old, she bravely stood up to the Taliban and wrote a secret blog documenting their crackdown on women’s rights and education in 2009.

(3)

Malala’s advocacy for women’s education made her a target of the Taliban.

(4)

The Taliban called Malala’s efforts to highlight the need for women’s education an obscenity.

(5)

According to the United Nation’s 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Pakistan has the second largest number of children out of school [in the world] and nearly half of rural females have never been to school..

(6)

According to a Council on Foreign Relations report titled What Works in Girls’ Education, A 100-country study by the World Bank shows that increasing the share of women with a secondary education by 1 percent boosts annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percentage points..

(7)

According to the World Bank, The benefits of women’s education go beyond higher productivity for 50 percent of the population. More educated women also tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labor market, earn more income, have fewer children, and provide better health care and education to their children, all of which eventually improve the well-being of all individuals and lift households out of poverty. These benefits also transmit across generations, as well as to their communities at large..

(8)

According to United Nation’s 2012 Education For All Global Monitoring Report, education can make a big difference to women’s earnings. In Pakistan, women with a high level of literacy earned 95 percent more than women with no literacy skills..

(9)

In January 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated, We will open the doors of education to all citizens, but especially to girls and women … We are doing all of these things because we have seen that when women and girls have the tools to stay healthy and the opportunity to contribute to their families’ well-being, they flourish and so do the people around them..

(10)

The United States provides critical foreign assistance to Pakistan’s education sector to improve access to and the quality of basic and higher education.

(11)

The Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program administered by the United States Agency for International Development awards scholarships to academically talented, financially needy Pakistani students from remote regions of the country to pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees at participating Pakistani universities.

(12)

Twenty-five percent of the 1,807 Merit and Needs-Based Scholarships awarded to date have been for women, with the goal of awarding 50 percent of the scholarships for fall 2013 matriculation to women.

(13)

The United Nations declared November 10 as Malala Day—a global day of support for and recognition of Malala’s bravery and courage in promoting women’s education.

(14)

On December 10, 2012, the United Nations and the Government of Pakistan launched the Malala Fund for Girls' Education to improve girls' access to education worldwide, with Pakistan donating the first $10,000,000 to the Fund.

(15)

The Government of Pakistan has stated that it plans to open 16 schools for poor children in areas affected by conflict or natural disasters and name them Malala Schools after Malala Yousafzai.

(16)

The Government of Pakistan, the United Nations, the World Bank, and other international organizations have set an April 2013 deadline to put forward a plan to provide education for all of Pakistan’s school-aged children by the end of 2015.

(17)

More than 1,000,000 people around the world have signed the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education petition calling on the Government of Pakistan to enroll every boy and girl in primary school.

(18)

Pakistani civil society organizations collected an additional 1,200,000 signatures from Pakistanis on a petition dedicated to Malala’s cause.

3.

Sense of Congress

(a)

In general

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

education and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights; and

(2)

educational exchanges increase people-to-people ties and promote institutional linkages between the United States and other countries.

(b)

Continued support for educational initiatives in Pakistan

Congress encourages the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to continue their support for initiatives led by the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani civil society that promote education in Pakistan, especially education for women.

4.

Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program

(a)

Expansion

The USAID Administrator shall increase the number of scholarships available under the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program (referred to in this Act as the Program) administered by the United States Agency for International Development (referred to in this Act as USAID) during each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2016 by 30 percent compared to the number of scholarships awarded during fiscal year 2012.

(b)

Limitations

(1)

Women

The additional scholarships available under subsection (a) may only be awarded to women, in accordance with other scholarship eligibility criteria already established by USAID.

(2)

Academic disciplines

Additional scholarships added by subsection (a) shall be awarded for a range of disciplines to improve the employability of graduates and to meet the needs of the scholarship recipients.

(3)

Other scholarships

The USAID Administrator shall make every effort to award 50 percent of the scholarships available under the Program (excluding the additional scholarships available under subsection (a)) to Pakistani women.

5.

Annual congressional briefing

(a)

In general

The USAID Administrator shall designate appropriate USAID officials to brief the appropriate congressional committees, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for the next 3 years, on the implementation of section 4.

(b)

Contents

The briefing described in subsection (a) shall include, among other relevant information, for the most recently concluded fiscal year—

(1)

the total number of scholarships that were awarded through the Program;

(2)

the disciplines of study chosen by the scholarship recipients;

(3)

the percentage of the scholarships that were awarded to students seeking a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, respectively; and

(4)

the percentage of scholarship recipients that voluntarily dropped out of school or were involuntarily pushed out of the program for failure to meet program requirements.

6.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

Transfer of security assistance funding

Of the amounts appropriated for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 pursuant to the authorization under title II of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–73), $400,000 shall be made available in each of the fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for the Program.

(b)

Funding for additional scholarships for Pakistani women

Of the amounts appropriated for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 for the purpose of providing assistance to Pakistan under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), $400,000 shall be made available in each of the fiscal years 2015 and 2016 for the Program.

(c)

Availability

Amounts made available in subsections (a) and (b) shall remain available until expended.