UK postgraduates call for urgent action to help Afghan scholars

  • August 18, 2021
UK postgraduates call for urgent action to help Afghan scholars

International postgraduate scholars in the UK have issued an open letter to the Government, calling for urgent action to get Afghan scholars to the UK.

For the incoming cohort of Afghan Chevening scholars - in light of the Taliban’s position towards education, particularly for girls and women - this scholarship could be life saving.

International postgraduate students in the UK

Gates Cambridge Scholars and other international postgraduate scholars in the UK have written an open letter to the Foreign Secretary urging him to help 35 Afghan Chevening scholars get visas to travel to the UK.

Some 249 Gates Cambridge, Marshall, Rhodes and other UK scholars wrote to Dominic Raab on 15th August concerning reports that the Foreign Office had blocked Afghan scholars from taking up UK scholarships, including the Chevening scholarship.

They stated: “As recipients of various postgraduate scholarships that facilitated our studies in the United Kingdom, including the Gates, Marshall, Rhodes, Commonwealth, Clarendon, Fulbright and Chevening, we are keenly aware of the impacts of these scholarships on our lives. For many of us, the opportunity to study in the UK with full funding at an elite institution was life-changing.

“For the incoming cohort of Afghan Chevening scholars – in light of the Taliban’s position towards education, particularly for girls and women – this scholarship could be life saving.”

They called on the UK government to reinstate the Chevening programme and to find a way to get visas to all Afghan scholars who were set to matriculate at UK universities this year.

Three days later, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that the UK government would try to help the 35 Afghan Chevening scholars get visas to travel to the UK, they wrote again having heard from scholars on the ground in Afghanistan who said  that they had not yet heard anything from the UK embassy in Afghanistan.

They called for urgent action to process the scholars’ visas. Since that letter, the number of signatories has risen to nearly 350.

*Picture credit: Wikimedia commons and VOA.

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