By Mary Poni
The Embassy of Turkey in South Sudan has granted scholarship opportunities to fifteen South Sudanese for both refugees and non-refugees students to study in Turkey.
The Turkish Embassy yesterday beat farewell to the 15 students who won the scholarship and Thursday was the last day for them to get their visas according to the Embassy.
The Turkish Ambassador to South Sudan, Erdem Mutaf, told the media that over fifteen students qualified to study in the Republic of Turkey this year through merits.
According to Ambassador Mutaf the students who successfully won the scholarship will be jetting to Istanbul today (Friday).
He said the students would be distributed to different campuses allocated by the scholarship authorities in Turkey which is a great opportunity for them.
“The scholars are going to study in different faculties of both school of science and Arts as for their first year would be strictly Turkey language course before venturing to their study area of profession,” he stated.
The Turkish envoy to Juba said that every year the scholar’s performance will be monitored by the Turkey’s scholarship authority and if their performance is high, they will be promoted to their second class.
He encourages the scholars to work hard to maintain the opportunity given.
Amb. Mutaf said besides political, economic and cultural activities, they are active in humanitarian, disaster relieves and capacity building matters of areas through the local agencies and all the historical and cultural types are the biggest straight.
He stated that education is also among their priorities in the country and they have two agreements with the national Ministry of General Education and the Ministry of High Education but yet they need to increase the cooperation in the former agreement.
Erdem Mutaf acknowledged that this year is the first time in the history of South Sudan to grant Turkey’s scholarship to refugees’ students, adding, the project was dialogued in cooperation with UNHCR.
“More refugees’ students attended the interviews, unfortunately they luck travelling documents especially the identity cards and passports, however, all these issues will be fixed before end of the year such that by next year, we will be inviting more refugee students,” he noted.
He said that the Turkey embassy will always be supporting the students not only during their studies but also after their graduation by creating them employment opportunities in South Sudan.
“I congratulate you as you were selected on your merits and I’m sure all of you will be successful and you will be the representatives of South Sudan as ambassadors in Turkey,” he cited.
The Minister of Higher Education Science and Technology, Gabriel Changson Chang acknowledged that it is a great support to the government of South Sudan and its people as Turkey has invested a lot in this country.
“We hope the granting of the scholarship will continue in a bigger way,” he said.
“We want to encourage the Turkey enterprises to get engaged in the country as we are also trying to develop a durable relationship with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology in terms of the same training as we placed a request earlier that while you are giving our students this golden opportunity to compete directly we would also want to have a quarter scholarship for the ministry in addition to what the embassy was giving,” he said.
Changson expressed delight to see seven ladies out of the fifteen students who won the scholarship breaking the 35% ratio.
“It is one of the objectives to make sure that gender balance is narrowed and brought to the far with the counterparts who are the boys,” the minister noted.
He said it is always very challenging to live in a foreign land but most importantly, priority should always be concentration with no joke to enable them obtain quality results.
Atif Alsir Barsan, one of the students who won scholarship to pursue Islamic Studies, said it’s not an easy task to compete for a scholarship at the same time as a refugee because there are a lot of things to follow up.
He said some of the challenges he encountered during the period of applying was the challenge of internet and finances.
He said that he had been trying scholarships over and over again and finally he made it through as a refugee from Maban to study in Turkey.
“I encouraged my fellow colleagues who are applying never to give up if you know what you want to achieve in life because life is hard nowadays in a way that some parents can’t afford to support their children in the university but the only way is to win a scholarship,” he said.
“I am humble and honored to be among the fifteen and the only refugee to study under the Turkish scholarship,” he expressed his joy.