A new crisis in the distribution of scholarships for the university Palestinian students in Lebanon
Academic year 2012 – 2013
"Witness" asking the stakeholders to take their responsibility towards the university students
After receiving dozens complaints from students and their parents about the delay of issuing the results of scholarships by UNRWA, and the beginning of asking them from the managements of universities to pay the fee for the first semester, especially, the exams of the midterm semester have begun in most universities.
UNRWA accidently send telephone messages to dozens of students who have been interviewed by UNRWA and promised to access university scholarships for this year, those students have joined the universities on the basis of this promise, and they were frustrated when they have received these messages that inform them that UNRWA apologize for cover their fees this year.
Based on what happened a meeting have held on Tuesday, 18/12/2012 at UNRWA main center in Beirut, between a delegation of the "Witness" included Director Mahmoud Hanafi and coordinator of public relations and media Mohammed al-Shouli, and Deputy of the Director of UNRWA Mr. Roger Davis and the officer of scholarship department Mr. Mohammad Ali, where they were inquiring about the mechanism which was adopted this year, and what are the reasons for the decreasing numbers of scholarship comparing with the previous years, as well as the obstacles that faced UNRWA to increase funding in this regard, in addition the problems that will face the students who enrolled in universities and they can’t able to pay the university fees, we in "Witness” have known that some of them have left Siblin training center and enrolled the universities on the basis that his name is included in the group that promised to get the scholarship.
By his turn Mr. Roger has commented on this matter by saying, that the problem lies in that the budget of the scholarship has not changed, but the expenses of the university fees has increased at least 30%, and there are 264 Palestinian students have joined Beirut Arab University during the previous five years and UNRWA covers their fees. Despite that number the Beirut Arab University rejected to offer them any discount, so the amount available for UNRWA does not cover only 50 scholarships this year beginning from the highest grad and down.
When we asked about the promise for a students to receive scholarships, Mr. Muhammad Ali replied that UNRWA has informed the students and their parents during several meetings, that the student have several options, including the submission of applications to the Fund of the President Abu Mazen and the Foundation of Unite Lebanon Youth , as well as the registration at the Lebanese universities, if the student conditions does not allow them to enroll in private universities and cover the expense from their parents, because the UNRWA cannot determined in advance of the number of the scholarship that they will grant.
"Witness" and in front of this problem ask the following:
- UNRWA should hold its responsibilities towards the Palestinian students, and launches an urgent appeal for emergency funding to cover the fees for students who have already enrolled in universities.
- The Fund of the President Abu Mazen should adopt the students that enabled to complete their studying.
- "Witness” asks the Palestinian embassy especially the Ambassador Ashraf Dabour to move towards the stakeholders and strive to find a solution to this humanitarian crisis.
- "Witness” asks the universities in Lebanon, especially Beirut Arab University, to offer the Palestinians students financially discount on their university fees, and to contribute in the solution of the urgent problem, that may open the way to join extra numbers of students.
Palestinian Association for Human Rights "Witness"