African students who were studying in Ukraine have appealed for a support package and scholarships after their studies were disrupted by the war in Ukraine.
The students have appealed to UNESCO, the Global Education Coalition, the European Commission, universities in Europe, Britain, the Irish States, Canada, the United States, and all countries and organizations that care about education to put in place to help them continue with their studies.
“Education is a fundamental right, and we should not be deprived of it because of our nationality,” says Korrine Sky who is a second year Medical student in Ukraine and is Director of Africans in Ukraine Education Fund.
According to Sky, despite the scholarships and support packages that have been put in place to assist Ukrainian refugees, non-Ukrainian students have been denied equal support.
This has left many unable to continue their education and with no clear path forward. With time running out, the students are being forced to leave the countries they fled to, with very few options
Sky said universities need to offer African students access to university places on the same terms as their Ukrainian counterparts.
“We should not be discriminated against and denied the opportunity to continue our education,” said Sky.
Furthermore, the African students are asking the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and the organizers of the Krok 2 exam, to cancel the exam due to Ukraine being an active war zone.
“It is an irresponsible and heartless request to ask students to risk their lives by returning to Ukraine to write this exam and renounce all legal rights in case of any harm,” reads part of the statement.
When the Ukraine-Russian War broke out last year, Africans in Ukraine were subjected to racist violence and discrimination and were barred from getting on trains and buses out of Ukraine and were told the trains and buses leaving the country were for ‘Ukrainians only’.
Africans were told to walk in sub-zero temperatures and when they got to Ukraine’s borders, they were threatened with further racist violence and forced to spend days in queues while their Ukrainian counterparts’ exit from the country was expedited.
A year since the start of the war, African students who were studying in Ukraine continue to experience exclusion. While countries and universities in Europe, the United States and Canada have offered support packages and scholarships to Ukrainian students, African students continue to struggle to get their transcripts from Ukrainian universities and are being threatened with deportation from the countries they moved to in Europe. The students also continue to struggle to find university places that will let them continue with their studies.
In addition to this, Ukrainian education authorities and universities are currently asking the students to return to Ukraine to sit exams despite not being able to guarantee the students’ safety.
Over 35,000 people, have since signed a petition asking for scholarships and support packages on the same terms as their Ukrainian counterparts.
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