German aid to Afghan scientists and students

Germany wants to help Afghan students and scientists in need with special scholarships. Several important German educational institutions are looking for ways to educate Afghans, given the poor state of education under the Taliban.

About three-and-a-half months after the Taliban seized power, Kabul’s university scene has darkened: public universities have been closed, and their staff has not been paid for months; In private universities, female students are separated from male students; The outlook and future seemed disappointing for academics, especially female scientists and female students.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Konrad Shatr, a conflict researcher and board member of the Afghanistan Working Group (AGA), said that given the situation, Afghan scientists who have been able to leave Afghanistan are trying to reach out to the West. The Afghanistan Working Group is an association of scientists and other experts of common interest who have been exchanging scientific information about Afghanistan since 1966.

“He knows a large number of Afghans who used to work in academia and have already left their country and are now seeking asylum in Germany or the United States,” said Conrad Camel. “First of all, we are on the way to the west.”

The request for help from German scientific organizations to Afghan scientists has been made from the address of the two most important German scientific organizations that are active in the field of scientific exchange by offering scholarships. These include the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which works with doctoral students, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), which is responsible for professors’ degrees.

“We offered a total of 50 scholarships last year (under the Hilde-Domin-Programm), some of which were to female students and “And we recently reached an agreement with the German Foreign Ministry on other financial means,” he added.

This way we can probably distribute another 25 to 30 scholarships specifically for this group. The Hilde II program is part of the German Academic Exchange Service, which was set up about a year ago. The program is intended to support students worldwide, especially at-risk doctoral students who have been formally or practically deprived of their right to education in their home country, to resume or continue their studies in Germany.

A similar goal at the professorship level is pursued by the Philipp Schwartz-Initiative, established in 2015 by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in collaboration with the German Foreign Ministry.

“We receive daily requests for help, as well as from people who have nothing to do with science … but we just “We can help in the scientific field.”

He added that given the scale of the crisis in Afghanistan, new ways and possibilities must now be sought. Frank Al-Brecht hopes that this support program will start in a few months.

The German Academic Exchange Service uses similar facilities to support Afghans in higher education. “The purpose of this (support) is, first of all, people from Afghanistan who are already in Germany, and with the political development in their hometown, the financial support that comes from parents,” explained Christian Holshurster, director of the scholarship program. They received, cut off.

This support also includes those who have already studied here but are unable to return to their homeland due to the current situation. Conrad Camel expects the situation in Afghanistan to improve in the long run.

Because of this, he said, there is little hope of encouraging the Taliban to gain a Western understanding of science. Christian Holshorster says they have a similar view at the German Academic Exchange Service: “So next year we will be wondering what can be done for people who cannot come to Germany? We think about virtual education, for example. “We want to do our part to ensure that there is not a completely lost generation in Afghanistan.”

He added that scholarships are also being discussed in a third country: “We will examine whether, given the large communities of Afghans living in neighboring countries for some time, there are “Provide third country scholarships.”

The Alexander Humboldt Foundation also thinks about continuing aid, as Frank Al-Brecht puts it, “it would be irresponsible” to leave education halfway through and “leave students behind after the first aid phase.” He emphasizes that for this reason, strong plans for the future should be considered in the case of any support.

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