How HEI is moving forward to help Afghan students – Times of India

Uncertainty is on their faces, Afghan students are looking to Indian institutions of higher learning (HEIs) so they can study on campus and help solve their visa problems in the ongoing crisis. Indian HEIs are providing assistance for their visa application through scholarships, helpline numbers and letters. As Afghan students constitute a significant number in the international student body, it has become even more urgent for Indian HEIs to rise to the occasion.

Estimates provided by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) indicate that 2,164 Afghan students in India are under its scheme. Of these, 1,2222 Afghan students are physically present and studying in India and 222 students are studying online from outside India, mostly in Afghanistan. Out of 1,222 students, 3 students will complete their course by September 2021.

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“Current issues involve extending the validity of Indian visas for Afghan students who have completed / are completing their courses this year. The ICCR has contacted the relevant ministries and agencies for guidance on policy level issues (especially visa extensions) for scholars in Afghanistan. If Afghan students studying under the ICCR Scholarship in Indian educational institutions are given the opportunity to be admitted for a new term, the Council may consider giving them as many scholarships as possible.

He added that under the ongoing ICCR Scholarship Scheme, students from Afghanistan, whose courses are running on campus here and who are attending in India, are covered by the current rules for the duration of their courses. “Students under the current ICCR Scholarship in Afghanistan (including the new academic year 2021-2022) and those who are not currently in India are eligible to join their courses on campus if they continue.”

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Help at hand

At IIT-Delhi, a helpline number was set up as a single point of contact for the Masters and Doctoral programs of 16 Afghan students who are taking online classes due to the ongoing epidemic. “The goal of the helpline is to discourage students and others who are interested in enrolling for our institute’s programs. There are also questions about IIT Delhi’s course offers, scholarships and whether they can suspend their study programs, ”said Naveen Garg, Dean of IIT Delhi’s Alumni Affairs and International Program.

The admission deadline for international students – offering full scholarships for PhD programs – has also been relaxed. The portal has been opened for admission at any time for Afghan students. Garg said faculty members have been initially instructed to process their application, although academic standards will not be relaxed. The institute has received about 20 applications for the PhD program and admission is on a rolling basis. “Nine of the 1 Afghan students enrolled for online classes have applied for e-visas, which the Indian government has announced for Afghan citizens. IIT-Delhi has written to the External Affairs Ministry to expedite visa processing for students to come to campus and take classes in person.

Visa processing is a priority

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At IIT Roorkee, 83 international students who completed their vaccinations last month were invited. Of these, 0 are from Afghanistan. “We have sent these names to the sponsoring agency and the Indian embassy for processing their visas,” said P Arumugam – Dean of the Department of International Relations – IIT Roorkee where all Afghan students are admitted through government agencies including fellowships. Of the registered Afghan students, four are on campus.

“Since the sponsoring agency will pay their tuition fees, students studying from a distance will no longer have to pay any fees,” Arumugam explained, adding that discounts and fee waivers are available for students admitted through the Study in India program even though eligibility criteria have not been relaxed.

Looking forward to returning

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At Lovely Professional University (LPU), about 155 Afghan students studying at LPU returned to Afghanistan because of Kovid. “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 campus, although visa challenges and the absence of flights have made it impossible for them to return, ”said Aman Mittal, Additional Director and Head of International Affairs. , At Lovely Professional University. He added that LPU has extended the deadline for paying fees to Afghan students. “We are helping them with emotional support if they are able to connect with their HOD and our international office,” he concludes.

Stay in India

Kolive, a prop-tech platform for rental accommodation, recently launched #CoLiveAndLetLive to offer 100 stay scholarships to Afghan students stranded in India. To apply for this scholarship, students must complete an online application form, submit a 30-second video with all KYC documents, including FRRO registration and a credible college certificate. Students can rent for free in the current semester or till December 1, 2021 at any of the platform properties spread across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.

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So far, 15 applications have been submitted and five Afghan students have been transferred to property in Bangalore. Due to the threat of freezing bank accounts and limited contact with families, students are being offered scholarships to alleviate their financial woes. Surav Rangarajan, founder and CEO, Kolive, said Afghan students, especially in Bangalore, have started taking advantage of the scheme.

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