4th October 2021
Thousands of Afghan students are currently enrolled on government scholarships and other financial grants in educational institutions in Pakistan. However, the door to education for Afghan refugee youths in Balochistan have remained bolted shut with no state-sponsored scholarships in the past 40 years.
With Afghanistan undergoing a period of political volatility following the Taliban takeover, students wishing to study in Pakistan, youths who are seeking asylum in Pakistan and refugees having grown up in Balochistan are concerned they might be unable to enroll for higher studies or apply for scholarships.
Despite Pakistan’s scholarship schemes for Afghan students, there is no guarantee that these students are able to secure employment after completing their degrees due to their “alien” status. Opportunities are already few and far in between, and many youths understand that it is nigh impossible to land a job at the government level, let alone in private companies.
To address the concerns of Afghan refugee students, the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) has established the International Centre for Refugee and Migration Studies.
The centre’s director, Hamal Baloch, observed that Afghan refugees have scant opportunities for education. Afghan refugees, who have been living in Pakistan for nearly four decades, want their children to acquire higher education degrees in order to find better employment opportunities for themselves and alleviate their hardships. However, forced to survive on the bare minimum from the get-go, paying university fees in order to acquire that degree might as well be a fantasy.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Furthermore, there are 980,000 Afghan citizen card holders in Pakistan, while more than 800,000 are living in Pakistan sans any documents.