Estimates provided by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) indicate that there are 2,164 Afghan students in India under the scheme. Of these, 1,722 Afghan students are physically present and studying in India while 442 students are studying online from outside India, mostly in Afghanistan. Out of 1,722 students, 373 students would have completed their courses by September 2021.
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“The current issues include the extension of Indian visas for Afghan students who have completed their courses this year. ICCR has approached relevant ministries and agencies for guidance on policy level issues (especially visa extension) for scholars from Afghanistan. If students from Afghanistan studying under ICCR scholarships in Indian educational institutions are admitted for a fresh term, the council may consider granting them as many scholarships as possible,” says a senior ICCR official.
He further said that under the ongoing ICCR Scholarship Schemes, students from Afghanistan, whose courses continue on campus here and who are present in India, are covered by the extant norms for the duration of their courses. “Students from Afghanistan under the current ICCR Scholarship (including for the new academic year 2021-2022) and who are not currently in India are eligible to attend their on-campus courses, if current,” he says. Huh.
At IIT-Delhi, a helpline number was set up as a single point of contact for its 16 Afghan students, who are pursuing master’s and doctoral programs, taking online classes due to the ongoing pandemic. “The aim of the helpline is to destroy the students and others like them who are willing to enroll for the programs of our institute. IIT Delhi’s course offers, scholarships and whether they can postpone their programs of study are also being looked into,” says Naveen Garg, Dean of Alumni Affairs and International Programs, IIT Delhi.
The entry deadline for international students – full scholarships offered for PhD programs – has also been relaxed. The portal has been reopened for Afghan students to take admission at any time. Garg adds that the faculty members have been instructed to process their applications on a priority basis, although the academic norms will not be relaxed. The institute has received around 20 applications for PhD programs, and admissions are being conducted on an ongoing basis. “Nine out of 16 Afghan students enrolled for online classes have applied for the e-visa that the Indian government has announced for Afghan nationals. IIT-Delhi has written to the Ministry of External Affairs to expedite visa processing for students to come to campus and take in-person classes,” says Garg.
Prioritizing Visa Processing
In IIT Roorkee, 83 international students who have completed their vaccination have been invited in the last month. Of these, 30 are from Afghanistan. “We have forwarded these names to the sponsoring agencies and the Indian Embassy to process their visas,” says P Arumugam – Dean of International Relations – IIT Roorkee, where all Afghan students are admitted through government agencies with fellowships. Four of the 44 registered Afghan students are living on campus.
“Since the sponsoring agency will pay its tuition fee, students studying remotely will no longer have to pay any fees,” explains Arumugam. Study in India waivers and fee waivers are available for students admitted through the program, even if the eligibility criteria are not relaxed.
eager to return
At Lovely Professional University (LPU), around 175 Afghan students studying at LPU had gone back to Afghanistan due to Covid. “LPU is conducting online classes for all its students so these students were attending their classes online from Afghanistan. However, all students want to return to the campus, however visa challenges as well as non-availability of flights have made it impossible for them to return,” says Aman Mittal, Additional Director and Head of the Division of International Affairs at Lovely Professional University. In. He added that LPU has extended the deadline for Afghan students to pay their fees. He concluded, “If they are able to connect with their HOD and our international office, we will also help them with psychological support.” are doing.”
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CoLive, a prop-tech platform for rental accommodation, recently launched #CoLiveAndLetLive to offer 100 stay scholarships for Afghan students stranded in India. These students need to complete an online application form, submit a 30 second video along with all KYC documents including FRRO registration and a genuine college certificate to apply for this scholarship. Students can stay free of rent for the current semester or till December 31, 2021 in any of the properties of the platform spread across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.
So far 15 applications have come, and five Afghan students have moved to the property in Bengaluru. With the threat of closure of bank accounts and limited contact with family back home, scholarships are being offered to students to ease their financial woes. Suresh Rangarajan, Founder and CEO, Koliv, said that Afghan students, especially in Bangalore, have started taking advantage of the scheme.