Afghanistan: Assistance for Threatened Students

Students in Afghanistan are facing a catastrophic situation: not only the successful completion of their course is under threat, but also the safety of their lives. In the last two decades, the university sector in the country has developed strongly, which has enabled young women in particular to study. Universities are now closed as the Taliban take over. Afghanistan’s neighbors – Pakistan, India and Central Asian countries – are trying to accommodate and help students fleeing the situation.

Study opportunities for Afghan students in Pakistan

According to World University News, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan announced on August 15 before the Taliban took control of Kabul that a sub-campus of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) would be made available to Afghan students, according to World University. The article quoted Iftikhar Hussain, vice-chancellor of UET, as saying that 25,000 Afghans had taken the national entrance exam for the Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarship this year, which allows Afghan scholars to study at any Pakistani university if they meet the admission criteria.

Since the conquest of Kabul, Pakistan has not yet commented on the future of educational cooperation between the two countries. According to World University News, however, the decision to support Afghan students is unlikely to be reversed. A spokesman for Pakistan’s higher education commission said his organization hoped the change of government in Afghanistan would not hurt the scholarship program, according to the report.

Other offers of help from abroad

Kyrgyzstan’s State National Security Committee announced on August 16 that it would extend the visa period for Afghan nationals who have already studied at the country’s universities, as well as admit 500 more students who wish to study at Kyrgyzstan’s universities, reports “University World News”.

In India, Afghan students face different problems. Due to the Corona epidemic, many of them have been studying digitally from Afghanistan in recent months. The victims contacted their respective universities to seek permission to study and re-enter the country. In this regard, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay has announced that it will allow Afghan students to return to campus, according to the report.

Aid to other neighboring countries is still pending. According to a statement, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is primarily focused on helping its project partners and their families to leave the country as quickly and safely as possible. Otherwise, DAAD offers perspectives for young researchers who need to leave their home countries through the Hilde Domin Program through the Philip Schwartz Initiative and the Humboldt Foundation. Overall, the number of Afghan students is estimated by UNESCO to be around 300,000.

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