Zim Students in Algeria Not in Dire Straits

I AM responding to a letter “Scholarship Students Made Destitute” in the Zimbabwe Independent (March 20 to 26) which described living conditions for the Zimbabwean students currently on scholarship in Algeria.

Therefore as it concerns my country I find myself obligated to react and bring out the correct information on that matter for the benefit of your valued readers in particular and the people of Zimbabwe in general.

The programme to which the letter was referring is not new and there was no formal deal between the two governments as it benefits all the African countries.

It is called the Algerian/African Governmental Undergraduate Annual Scholarship programme which started a year after independence in 1963 without interruption until today.

Thousands of young Africans from across the continent have benefited in the spirit of sharing knowledge and enhancement of human capacity building.

Your country, Zimbabwe has from 2005 been the main beneficiary with 176 students currently enrolled at various Algerian universities.

I am surprised about the story and comments made by the student in the letter because this is the first complaint I have heard since the hundred other students also coming from Zimbabwe and other African countries have never pointed out the so-called “desperate situation”. Unless she has failed in her studies, then in that case it’s a different situation altogether.

As we are preparing to launch the selection process for the next group of students for the academic year 2009-2010, I would like to assure those that are interested in the Algerian scholarships that there is no single difference in the treatment between the one million Algerian students and their thousands of African colleagues.

Therefore they are benefiting from the conditions put in place by the Algerian government, which ensures that residence permits, health care, food, transport and a return tickets, as well as allowances are availed.

In conclusion I do wish that you might have advised me on the matter rather than publicising false information and misleading the students interested in that scholarship programme.

Ali Mokrani,
Algerian Ambassador.