Afghan study offer draws Pakistani students

A view of Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 September 2020

Afghan study offer draws Pakistani students

  • Medicine gets top marks among 150 scholarship hopefuls

PESHAWAR: About 150 students from northwestern Pakistan traveled to Afghanistan this month to take part in tests that could win them Afghan government scholarships for higher education, particularly in medicine.  

The Afghan government pays for 104 scholarships for Pakistanis every year, the Afghan consulate in Peshawar said. 

“Medical education is expensive in Pakistan, so we decided to pursue education in Afghanistan,“ Sana Gul told Arab News.

Gul was among 150 young Pakistanis who left for Kabul last Saturday to attend the scholarship tests.

The group included 11 female students who want to study medicine. 

Gul said that the Pakistanis are hoping that security will improve in Afghanistan, and that peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government in Qatar will end with a power-sharing deal.

“We believe the peace process will end with good news, so we are traveling to Kabul,” said Gul, who is accompanied by her sister, Spogami. Both have passed 12th-grade exams.

Their father, Farman Khan, a teacher in the Mardan district, said that his daughters made the decision to go to Afghanistan. 

“We allowed them to decide for themselves and we will stand by them,” he said, adding that he believes the region is now safe “for those who seek education.” 

Arshad Mehsud from South Waziristan also traveled to Afghanistan for the scholarship test in the hope of studying medicine.

“There is no doctor in my village,” he said. “So after completing this degree, I will come back to serve the people of Waziristan.”


South Korea considers more vaccine buys as coronavirus cases spike

Updated 26 min 41 sec ago

South Korea considers more vaccine buys as coronavirus cases spike

  • South Korea is battling one of its largest waves of coronavirus infections yet

SEOUL: South Korea’s ruling party has called for the country to buy millions of additional coronavirus vaccine doses after a spike in infection numbers raised concerns about the government’s existing plans.
South Korea already plans to secure enough doses to vaccinate 30 million people, or about 60 percent of the population, but Democratic Party lawmakers said they would appropriate funds to buy doses for at least 44 million people.
“The party plans to allocate an additional 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) to next year’s budget,” an official with Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Nak-yon’s office said.
South Korea is battling one of its largest waves of coronavirus infections yet, fueled by small outbreaks in the densely populated capital city of Seoul and surrounding areas.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 438 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 34,201 cases and 526 deaths.
The government’s current vaccine purchase plan puts it well ahead of a World Health Organization goal for the early purchase of supplies for 20 percent of most vulnerable people, and the minimum of 40 percent agreed by European Union nations, Britain and EU partners for their populations.
Korean authorities have said they are not in a rush to procure large numbers of vaccines quickly because the country has succeeded in keeping infection rates at controllable levels, preferring to wait and see which vaccines worked best.
Securing more vaccines of different types is also necessary because their safety has yet to be guaranteed, the KDCA said on Monday.
The KDCA has said they do not expect to start vaccinating the public until the second quarter of 2021.
The Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials said that as of Monday 3,500 people have pre-registered to participate in clinical trials for coronavirus experimental vaccines and treatment drugs, though a smaller number will be selected to participate.
Under the current plan, the government has secured a third of the needed doses via the COVAX facility, an international COVID-19 vaccine allocation platform co-led by the WHO, with the remaining doses purchased from private companies.