By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan (AA) - The Turkish government has offered scholarship opportunities for 15 South Sudanese students seeking tertiary education.
Speaking Thursday while announcing the winners of the scholarships, Turkish ambassador to South Sudan Erdem Mutaf said the scholarship program will cover all costs of study at Turkish universities.
Mutaf said it will be a great opportunity for the students, who are planning to take various courses at Turkish universities. They will spend five years in Türkiye, he said, with the first year devoted to studying the Turkish language and the remaining years for their university studies.
He said education is among the priorities of what their embassy is doing in South Sudan.
“The Turkish embassy has been conducting many activities in South Sudan, and they are not limited only to bilateral relations. We are also active in humanitarian relief and capacity building through our developmental agencies. Education is also among our priorities in this country.”
Mutaf revealed that they have two agreements with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and the Ministry of Higher Education and need to increase their cooperation within the frameworks of these agreements.
He added that this year is very important because they granted a scholarship to a refugee student and promised that many other refugee students will be among those given scholarships in the future.
Gabriel Changson Chang, South Sudan’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, noted that the scholarships are a great source of support to the government and people of South Sudan.
“We all heartily appreciate it and we hope it will continue in a bigger way,” Chang said at the event.
“Türkiye has invested a lot in South Sudan and we appreciate that and encourage Turkish enterprises to get engaged in South Sudan,” he said.
“We are also trying to develop a durable relationship with the Ministry of Higher Education in terms of the same issue and give some scholarships to the ministry.”
Chang said he is pleased that seven of the 15 scholarship recipients are female.
“The most important thing I want to say is that I want you to come back with credible certificates,” he said, addressing the students.
“I want you to concentrate on your studies, be our ambassadors over there. We want you to behave in a very disciplined manner. Don’t do something that will discredit us as a country.”
Atif Amir, the Sudanese refugee who won the scholarship, said he struggled to obtain such an opportunity for many years.
“It is very hard to get this scholarship. We were very many refugees, and I managed to get it,” Amir said.
“I am very happy to go to Türkiye because it’s not easy for us to go to university as refugees.”
Pamela Kany Francis, who will pursue a PhD in electrical engineering, said the scholarship is a great opportunity for her.
“I believe that in the future, it’s going to help me a lot,” she said.
“I am encouraging ladies to focus on their education and forget rushing into marriage.”
The Turkish government has provided 171 scholarships to South Sudan since 2013.