Reduce of scholarships “devastating”

Reduce of scholarships “devastating”

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Gabriel R. du Plessis, student from South Africa, tells Lundagård: “It is very important, that these scholarships continue, because they initiate and provide opportunities for positive changes.” Photo: Eleina May

The Swedish Institute lacks of funding, and scholarships to international students will most likely drop next year. “A devastating move”, think current scholarship holders from Lund University.

Every year, the Swedish Institute, SI, gives scholarships to outstanding international students, funding the high tuition fees they have to pay in Sweden. The scholarships are important for these students to get the opportunity to study in Sweden, as well as for Swedish universities to keep a global and high quality education by having a diversity of students.

However, these scholarships will now most probably decrease drastically, as the recently elected red-green government does not feature any extra funding in their proposed budget for the SI.

This leads to the consequence that scholarship holders in Sweden for 2015 will fall from the current 700 to only 100. For Lund University, this means that around 130 fewer students will come on scholarship next autumn.

“A great loss
Gabriel R. du Plessis, student from South Africa, tells Lundagård: “It is very important, that these scholarships continue, because they initiate and provide opportunities for positive changes.”

Being covered by an SI scholarship, he is studying social studies of gender.

“To cut down on the scholarship is terribly sad, because the international experience that we gain from Sweden is brought back to our countries and the knowledge applied to build a better society. For Sweden, with a reputation of making the biggest positive difference in the world, reducing the scholarship is a great loss.”

“I have seen first hand what the scholarship can and have done,” he continues, “moreover, it is an exchange rather than charity. Sweden can gain so much from students that are coming over as well. Anyone who is sceptical of that should just sit one day in a class with an international group of people.”

However, not all the smartest brains has the best possibility to pay.
“I take my studies extremely seriously, but without funding, that is simply not possible for me.” Gabriel R. du Plessis says.

Akmaral Kamaliyeva, student from Kazakhstan. Photo: Eleina May
Akmaral Kamaliyeva, student from Kazakhstan.
Photo: Eleina May

Talented minds would be missing
“The scholarship was what basically brought me to Lund.” Akmaral Kamaliyeva, student from Kazakhstan, says “the decrease is definitely not great. Think about people who could come on this scholarship: some with very talented minds, scholars who could gain so much from Sweden and then carry their experience back.”

Akmaral Kamaliyeva is in the interdisciplinary program of development studies. She aims towards implementing her knowledge back in Kazakhstan after Sweden and make her country finer.

“Scholarship is not only a funding, it gives you a feeling that you matter for the future and can make a change, which inspires me to work harder,” she says.

“But surely”, Akmaral Kamaliyeva continues, “when it comes to higher education, the tuition fees for international students are just so high. If I was not given a scholarship for Lund, I would definitely have gone to another institution I was given full scholarship to”.

Unsure of the right to protest
Although many scholarship students consider the decrease in scholarships unfortunate, several of them are unsure whether they are entitled to demand more. This since they have already got many possibilities out of the Swedish Government in just being able to study for free in Sweden.

“As current scholarship holders, we are very upset about the the limiting of the scholarship, but I question if I even have a right to question. Maybe I should simply appreciate the opportunity given and be quiet”, says Lubna Hawwa from the Maldives, who is studying development studies.

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