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Desperate Afghan students trying to extend stay through admissions

Mohammad Sadiq Zarify, an M.Tech student in the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, keeps his fingers crossed for his admission into the Ph.D. programme in IIT Delhi while Ibrahim Farough, a B.Tech student, prays for a formal letter from the Ministry of External Affairs for his smooth admission in the higher course.

Though the admissions would mean academic advancement for these two students from Afghanistan, what is uppermost in their mind is that the admissions would help stretch a ‘dignified life’ for a couple of years more in India.

Nine Afghanistan students are on the campus of the NIT-Rourkela to pursue engineering courses after they were granted scholarships by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Scholarships of four of the nine students are said to have lapsed after the completion of their respective courses in the NIT.

“We have run out of money as scholarship is stopped following completion of our courses. The NIT authorities have just allowed us to stay in hostels and access food. We don’t have a penny to spend even for a cup of tea outside campus. There is no way my parents can send me money for monthly expenses now,” said Zarify.

Ibrahim, who has completed B.Tech (civil), said as an international student neither he could get campus placement nor could he return home as international flight operations to Afghanistan are yet to resume.

He pins all hopes on the M. Tech programme that would enable him to get monthly stipend. His brother, who is working in a juice making company, is the only earning member in the family and he has since lost job following the Taliban’s ascent to power.

As a retrenched employee in the education department, Zarify’s father can part with a portion of his savings for his son’s immediate requirement. But Zarify rules out this possibility as the rest of the family has to survive on the little saving back in Kabul. He said his family does not have relatives in other countries where he can seek financial assistance.

Four Afghanistan students said they have no money to spend for treatment if one of them falls ill.

“We have contacted the ICCR officials intimating them about our distress. They told us to first take admission and show admission papers to become eligible for getting scholarship again. On the other hand, the NIT-Rourkela authorities said they cannot give them admission in automatic route. They need a formal request from the MEA,” Ibrahim said narrating the problem.

Stay in hostels on sympathetic grounds

When contacted, P.K. Das, NIT-Rourkela Registrar, said: “Passed out Afghanistan students have been allowed to stay in hostels on sympathetic grounds following crisis in their country. But the NIT cannot bear the expense without the government’s approval. We have informed the government about the visa status of all students.”

“The passed out B.Tech students cannot be taken as M.Tech students through automatic route. A central admission process is going on. The NIT-Jaipur is conducting it. A lot of issues are involved in the process. Who is going to take care of scholarship and bear expenses? The government has to approve it,” said Prof. Das.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 12:26:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/desperate-afghan-students-trying-to-extend-stay-through-admissions/article36696885.ece

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