On July 24, 2023, a Tertiary Level Refugee Students meeting was held at the BUITEMS training hall. Attendees included Afghan refugee graduate DAFI scholars and other tertiary level refugee students. Ms. Kinza Fatima presented the ICRMS, while Ms. Nafisa Nasar delivered the meeting’s agenda. The students were divided into four groups to discuss challenges in tertiary education and proposed policy recommendations to UNHCR and the Government of Pakistan. Ms. Nafisa and Ms. Maira emphasized the importance of staying focused, sharing success stories, and providing support to fellow students. They encouraged participation in Inspire Pakistan and volunteering for ICRMS’ career counseling sessions. The meeting had 22 participants, including 12 Afghan refugee students/graduates, of which 10 were females.
The students raised several significant challenges during the meeting, which are as follows:
- Expiry of POR cards leading to the blockade of bank accounts.
- Insufficient support from the government of Afghanistan in issuing equivalence certificates.
- Financial assistance scarcity during the admissions process.
- Ongoing blockade of bank accounts, creating financial hardships for the students.
- Inadequate standard of education in refugee camps or villages.
- Lack of proper teacher training at the camps.
- Absence of libraries and labs in refugee camps, hindering academic progress.
- Insufficient support and guidance during university admissions, discouraging already marginalized students.
- Exclusive government policies in Pakistan concerning Laptop schemes and Coursera licenses, limited to CNIC holders only.
- DAFI scholarship not providing support for refugees pursuing MS and PhD programs in Pakistan.
- The inadequacy of the DAFI financial amount in comparison to the prevailing inflation rate in Pakistan.