The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has selected a total of 85 Afghans for special quotas in the Held Domain program, and for so-called bridging scholarships for refugee students and doctoral candidates, the organization announced on Tuesday.
Afghans are limited in all areas of education, including higher education. “For us, their support and acceptance of the German higher education system is a clear continuation of two decades of commitment to the Afghan higher education sector,” explained DAAD President Professor Jayabrato Mukherjee. The DAAD had to stop supporting the country’s universities as the Taliban returned to power last August. Special programs will now support students and doctoral candidates who are still in Afghanistan or who are already in Germany as refugees.
Detailed special program
DAAD has announced that 26 young Afghans have received full scholarships for undergraduate or postgraduate degrees or doctorates in Germany through special quotas in the Hilde Domin program. Most of these selected applicants are currently in Afghanistan, but DAAD will assist them in applying to leave the country. In Germany, scholarship holders took part in a language course before beginning their studies at a German university in the winter semester of 2022/23.
59 Afghans, most of whom were already in Germany, were selected for a Bridging Scholarship in Afghanistan. They will receive financial support for six months to assist in their scientific reconstruction in Germany.
With special programs, DAAD has expanded its support for Afghan students and doctoral candidates. According to Mukherjee, however, the global need for a scientific protection program exceeds DAAD’s capabilities, as it has grown significantly in recent years. The number of at-risk students nominated for the Hilde Domin program has tripled in one year. From the beginning of January 2022 to the middle of March alone, about 450 nominations have been received, of which about 350 are from Afghanistan. “Even if the federal government’s financial situation is difficult, we believe that the well-known protection programs of the DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation should be further expanded,” Mukherjee claimed.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports endangered researchers through the Philip Schwartz Initiative. In response to the situation in Afghanistan, the Foundation announced last autumn that it had created the conditions for more flexible nominations for Afghan researchers.