Affected by Israeli blockade and red tape imposed by Israel to limit education opportunities, Palestinian universities face a shortage of academic cadres. In a show of support to Palestinians, Turkey's Higher Education Board (YÖK) decided to grant scholarships for Palestinians pursuing master's degree and doctoral studies in Turkey.
Students who will be future academics in Palestine, will study in fields determined based on the needs of Palestinian universities, in coordination with Palestinian officials. Twenty students pursuing master's degrees and 18 doctorate students will be the first Palestinians to receive YÖK Scholarships for foreign students. They are required to return to their country and work at universities there under the scholarship agreement. They will be mandated to serve at those universities twice the time they studied in Turkey. Students will be assigned to al-Aqsa University in Gaza, Palestine Technical University in the West Bank and Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Professor Rahmi Er, a member of YÖK's executive board, said the year-long scholarship will cover every need of the students, who will be given monthly allowances, tuition fees, free health insurance and free accommodation at state-run dormitories. Er said that their international scholarship program already covers students from Albania, Bangladesh, Kosovo, Macedonia, Pakistan's Kashmir, Rwanda, Sudan and Ukraine.
Palestinians complain of the constant breach of their right to education by Israel, from restricting freedom of movement for Palestinian academics and students to intimidation and arbitrary arrests by Israeli soldiers, as well as the closure of schools. Israel also hinders foreign academics from teaching at Palestinian universities. The Palestinian education ministry recently announced that more than half of the academics bearing foreign passports were subject to visa denials or delays in the visa process in the past two years.
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