After the end of the evacuation
Support for Afghanistan’s students and researchers
Following the withdrawal of international troops, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) calls for comprehensive political, academic and social commitment. Today, the DAAD presented its general ideas in Bonn for supporting Afghan students and researchers over the next few years.
‘Over the past few days and weeks, we received dramatic and often heart-breaking news from partners from the higher education sector in Afghanistan,’ said DAAD President Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee. ‘In close coordination with the German authorities, we tried to help as much as we were able to as a German research funding organisation. As evacuation activities have come to an end, we must quickly draw up programmes and measures here in Germany that allow us to continue supporting the Afghan people. One thing is certain now that the Taliban have regained control: after 20 years of development work in Afghanistan, we must not give up on the country and its people,’ Mukherjee continued to say. Vital contributions could be made through suitable measures for integrating refugees into the German education system and by realising research cooperation projects.
As a funding organisation for academic exchange, the DAAD defined four areas in which programmes and measures for students and researchers from Afghanistan will be drawn up or expanded in a timely manner. These areas are:
- to expand funding for students and researchers in Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and the region, such as in Uzbekistan and Turkey;
- to expand funding for particularly vulnerable Afghan students and researchers in Germany;
- to develop leadership programmes to prepare the young Afghan generation for a post-Taliban era;
- to maintain and expand successful established programmes for integrating refugees at German higher education institutions.
The DAAD President explained that support for Afghan students and researchers could be realised quickly through measures in these four fields of action. He continued to say that the DAAD was working on a strategy for these four areas, and was coordinating its activities with partner organisations, higher education institutions and the federal government. ‘We expect that the federal government will take up our considerations and that the German Bundestag will provide the necessary resources over the next few years. We must accept our responsibility for Afghanistan, also in the challenging times ahead and under difficult circumstances,’ Mukherjee pointed out.
Since 2002, the DAAD has provided around 50 million euros to promote students, researchers and projects through higher education cooperation with Afghanistan. Among the funded individuals were just under 1,100 doctoral candidates and master’s students who received scholarships to attend German higher education institutions. The DAAD also provided support for a total of around 240 teaching and research projects of German higher education institutions and Afghan partner institutions. The ‘National Atlas of Afghanistan’ is an impressive example of a German-Afghan research project that was funded. Reliable, scientifically sound information about the country’s resources, infrastructure, nature and culture were collected and published for the first time in the national atlas that was issued in 2014. Further areas of funding included information technology, economic and business administration, natural sciences, earth sciences, German as a foreign language and medicine.