Shams Aziz Mashal

Shakirullah, a second semester student at the Nangarhar University came to Pakistan in the aftermath of the fall of Kabul, hoping to get enrolled into an educational institution. However, he has ran from pillar to post over past several months without any luck.

He is currently living in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that he traveled to Spin Boldak to enter Pakistan via Chaman along with his younger brother.  They later came to Zeer Kamar area of Hangu district, where they stayed with a friend of his father’s friend.  After settling in Hangu, he went about roaming the cities including Kohat and Islamabad to check educational institution. However, the educational institutions refused to take him in as he had neither proof of registration card nor any other documents.

However, Ejaz Shah Kazmi, an official at the Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam University said that there was no government policy regarding Afghan students.

Mr Kazmi said that there was special quota for Afghan students in BS progrramme; however,  no such arrangements for masters courses.”To be eligible for admission, the refugees must possess a proof of registration card issued by the Nadra or Afghan passport,” he said.

He said that the government should register Afghan refugees to secure their future.

It is worth mentioning that those refugees who came to Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan have been issued POR cards by the UNHCR and Pakistani government which enable Afghan students to enroll into universities on Afghan quota. Each department has a reserve seat for Afghans.

However, those Afghans who have come to Pakistan after the fall of Kabul are facing issues.

Shazia Safi, a BS student in the University of Peshawar told TNN that the Afghan students require POR cards, passport and equivalency certificate to enroll into KP universities. She said that those students getting admission on passports have to renew their visas time and again, which causes great inconvenience to them.

Explaining the process for admission she said that the approach the consulate along with POR card and Afghan tazkira and the consulate sends these documents along with a NOC to the Higher Education Commission

The HEC can issue a process letter to the student after two weeks, which enables a student to get admission in a university. She said that student can go to Islamabad to pick their process letter by hand from the HEC.

“The equivalency certificate fees continue to change and last time it stood at Rs 3000,” Ms Safi said.

Besides, she said that the student has sit through an entry test after depositing its fee through a bank. Ms Safi said that after qualifying the entry test, the aspirant will the varsity admission form along with the HEC process letter and the entry test result.

She said that public sector universities have only seat for Afghan students which goes to the highest mark scorer.

Other Afghan students can get admission on foreigner seat; however, they have to pay the fees in US dollars. In addition to this, they can also enroll into self finance schemes in the second shift. However, she said that the many varsities try to force Afghans to enroll into foreign seats so as to charge in US dollars.

Ms Safi said that private sector universities enroll Afghans in great numbers.

She said that Afghans living in Pakistan face great troubles and it was difficult for them to pay high fees.

Ms Safi said that there were many scholarships like China Scholarship to help students with their education expenses. “Besides, there were other scholarships which make payments to students after each three months and I am also availing a similar scholarship,” she said.

However, one needs to have a bona fide or original letter from university of admission to apply for scholarships.

Ms Safi said that the students can borrow money for admission and later apply for scholarships which she had also done.

However, she said that to enroll into a university, the aspirants must have POR card or passport and other than that it was very difficult to enroll into a university.

On the other hand, Shakirullah demanded the government to issue them identity documents so that they can continue their education.

Besides, he called for making arrangements for admission of newly arrived Afghans into  colleges and universities, so that their future is not wasted.

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