UEA appeals for Afghan students to be able to travel to Norwich
- Credit: Denise Bradley
The University of East Anglia has called on the government to allow students from Afghanistan to be able to travel to study in Norwich.
Amid continuing chaotic scenes as people struggle to flee from Kabul following the Taliban taking power, the UEA said it was “deeply concerned at the distressing scenes unfolding in Afghanistan”.
Around 250 Afghans have been offered scholarships as part of the Foreign Office sponsored Chevening programme that enables promising students around the world to pursue a masters degree in the UK.
The Foreign Office had indicated the situation in Afghanistan meant the British Embassy there would not be able to finish preparations in time for students to take up places in the UK from next month.
However controversy over the decision has led the government to indicate it may still allow prospective students to travel to the UK.
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The UEA said it was in contact with “current and prospective students” from Afghanistan and urged the government to “accelerate any required visas and funding as needed, along with the safe travel”.
UEA vice-chancellor professor David Richardson said: “We are asking for the government to confirm that the decision to pause the Chevening programme in Afghanistan for the 2021-22 academic year has been reversed.
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“We will continue to do all that we can to support and accelerate any required visas and funding as needed, along with the safe travel of Chevening Scholars to the UK.
“The university is in contact with current and prospective students from Afghanistan, including Chevening Scholars, who were due to start their courses at UEA in September this year.
“Ongoing support from the university is available, including financial support, and this has been offered to those affected.”
The UEA is recognised as a ‘University of Sanctuary’, as part of City of Sanctuary, a charity supporting groups across the UK that helps refugees and includes an aim to help reduce the barriers to participation in higher education.
In a statement the charity, which includes Norwich City of Sanctuary, said: “It is difficult to imagine the plight of those at risk both in Afghanistan, the emotional and financial hardship some of the scholars may be facing, and the uncertainty about their families or friends still in Afghanistan.”