Arab students forced out of Ukraine by the Russian invasion face uncertainty about continuing their studies in their own countries. This report monitors developments in four Arab states.
Egypt to Test Returnees
The Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research announced that students must sit exams to assess their academic level before being admitted to private and national universities.
A statement from the ministry said the tests will be used “to determine the academic level in which students are enrolled in the disciplines of human medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and engineering.”
Exams in dentistry and engineering will be held at Ain Shams University on March 28. Students of human medicine and pharmacy will be examined at Cairo University on March 29 or 30.
The government set March 24 as a deadline to apply for a transfer to Egyptian universities, exactly one month after the Russian invasion. It created a special link for students studying in Ukrainian universities to register with the ministry.
Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, ,inister of higher education and scientific research, said earlier that the exams were necessary because some students “were in the literary section of the high school and they joined medical colleges in Ukraine.”
Morocco: Controversy over Crowding
In Morocco, the National Commission of Students of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy issued a statement opposing the government’s plan to integrate returnees from Ukraine into public colleges and universities.
Egypt will test students returning from Ukraine “to determine the academic level in which students are enrolled in the disciplines of human medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and engineering.”Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
The commission, which represents medical students in Morocco, fears that the admission of a large number of returnees from Ukraine into the country’s medical colleges and hospitals will result in overcrowding and weaken the quality of education for all.
“The difficult situation inside public colleges and university hospitals, and the difficulties that students suffer in training, make us call to exclude this possibility,” the statement said. It called for “other solutions that do not negatively affect the quality of training.”
“We would like to point out that … the quality of theoretical and applied medical training represented in training centres that witness unparalleled overcrowding are red lines that should not be violated under any pretext,” the commission said.
The government has not responded to the student group’s concerns.
Meanwhile, representatives of the parents of Moroccan students returning from Ukraine have set up an association to look after the interests of these students.
The website Hespress quoted Hayat Barhou, first vice president of the association, as saying that the students “have obtained Moroccan baccalaureate degrees and they went to study in Ukraine in public, not private, universities. Therefore the requirement is to integrate into public institutions.”
She added that it was the Moroccan government that “demanded the return of the students, and it must find an appropriate solution for them.”
One of the problems facing the returnees is that courses in Ukraine were in Russian or English, while French is the language for studying medicine in Moroccan universities. Asked whether returnees might continue their studies at Ukrainian universities via the Internet, Barhou noted that the war prevents many professors from holding lectures.
“The difficult situation inside public colleges and university hospitals, and the difficulties that students suffer in training, make us call to exclude this possibility” of admitting returnees into Moroccan institutions.A commission representing medical students in Morocco
According to Hespress, 4,885 returning students have registered through the platform set up for them by the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education. They include 3,744 in medicine, pharmacy and dentistry.
Algeria: No Accurate Count of Students in Ukraine
According to Saied Ben Roquia, president of the General Union of Algerians Abroad, “the real number of Algerian students in Ukraine is close to two thousand.” The Maghreb Voices website quoted him as saying that “many of them refused to register with the embassy and consulates there in the pre-war phase.”
The website of the Algerian newspaper Echorouk said the union had urged the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Abdelbaki Benziane, to admit students returning from Ukraine into Algerian universities.
Jordan: Completing Studies 0utside the Kingdom
In Jordan, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research set up a portal to record data for returnees from Ukraine. It said students could complete their studies in universities outside Jordan, provided that the ministry recognises them. A link shows the list of recognised universities.
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The ministry also explained that its Non-Jordanian Certificate Equivalency Committee “will consider exempting those who enter their data on the electronic platform from the requirement to study 50 percent of the credit hours at the university from which they will graduate.” This, it said, “will facilitate them to move to other non-Jordanian universities and reduces their academic losses.”