Education Germany offers scholarships for Afghan female students

Joint press release of BMZ and DAAD, 10 January 2023 | The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) wants to support about 5,000 Afghan women to study in one of the neighboring countries. To this end, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is launching a scholarship program for young people who have fled Taliban repression to neighboring Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan or Pakistan. The target group is primarily Afghan women who have been banned from studying in their home country since the end of December. The program is funded by the BMZ with around seven million euros.

Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze: “The Taliban's policy is not only contemptuous of women, but also poisonous for the country's development. Denying half the population educational opportunities robs the country of its future potential. Without well-educated women, there is no way out of hunger and poverty. They are also indispensable for the work of aid organizations. The Taliban must revoke the bans that exclude women. In any case, we will not stop looking for ways to support Afghan women. One way is to enable Afghan women who have fled to study in one of the neighboring countries. This gives the women the prospect of a decent job and a secure livelihood. And they can support their country in reconstruction as soon as the conditions in Afghanistan allow it again.”

DAAD President Prof. Dr Joybrato Mukherjee adds, “For the people of Afghanistan, the situation is an ongoing catastrophe. Young women in particular have been hit hard: It is hardly possible for them to participate in social life anymore. Since they have been excluded from universities, they also lack any academic training opportunities. The new scholarship program is therefore an important building block in enabling young women, together with our international partner organizations, to prepare for university and to support Afghan women refugees with bachelor's and master's scholarships at universities in the region.”

The focus of the new scholarship program is to support the academic education of Afghan women students in the neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

In Bangladesh, the DAAD is awarding bachelor scholarships at the Asian University for Women in the city of Chittagong.

In Kyrgyzstan, Afghan students at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in the city of Bishkek are sponsored for a period of two years while they pursue a master's degree.

In Pakistan, the DAAD will offer four-year bachelor and two-year master scholarships primarily for Afghan women refugees through partner organizations.

The targeted support of Afghan women is intended to help train qualified specialists who can advance education and development under changed conditions in Afghanistan. The program is expected to support more than 5,000 people by the end of 2027. In addition to the UNHCR, the DAAD is working with Jesuit Worldwide Learning, the Asian University for Women and the American University of Central Asia.

Since the Taliban regained power in the summer of 2021, women's rights in Afghanistan have been increasingly restricted. At the end of 2022, women were excluded from the country's universities, and they are no longer allowed to work for non-governmental organizations. As a result, Development Minister Schulze initially halted German development cooperation in Afghanistan in order to develop an internationally coordinated response.