Response to Indian scholarship offer to Afghans "revolutionary"
New Delhi, March 8, 2006 (Indo-Asian News Service) - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer of 500 scholarships to Afghan students, announced during his visit to Kabul last year, has received an overwhelming response, with nearly 12,000 students competing for this prized opportunity to pursue university education in India.
"The response to the Indian offer has been overwhelming," a press release issued by the external affairs ministry said here Wednesday.
"Around 12,000 candidates are reported to have registered themselves for the pre-selection English language proficiency test, including 6,500 candidates in Kabul, 2,500 in Jalalabad, 1,500 in Mazar-e-Sharif, 650 in Herat and 420 in Kandahar," the release added.
The response has been "revolutionary, never witnessed before in Afghanistan," according to the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education, with whom the Indian embassy in Kabul has been coordinating the selection of candidates.
On the basis of the results in the English language proficiency test and oral interviews conducted by the Indian embassy, 500 most meritorious students will be shortlisted for scholarships.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is administering the scheme of scholarship for Afghan students, which includes all university level under-graduate and post-graduate courses in arts, science, engineering, commerce, business administration and law.
"It (the scholarship scheme) also adds another new dimension to the already warm and friendly relations between the two countries, based on mutual trust and understanding," said the ministry's statement.