Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and a number of private institutions of higher education held a joint press conference on Thursday, March 31, 2011to announce a special program to admit 16,000 students who were not granted admission to government universities. The press conference was attended by senior administrators of private universities; Deputy Minister of Higher Education for Vocational Technical Education, and ACCI leadership.
Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, Chief Executive Officer of ACCI told the assembled media that the program was designed to provide opportunity for high school graduates who were not accepted into public universities due to the limited number of seats available for applicants.
He added that a group of private universities and institutions were ready to accept these 16,000 students and to offer varying-levels of fee subsidies.
In 2010, approximately 117,000 High School graduates, an increase of 30% from prior year, participated in matriculation exams that determine qualification for the limited seats in government universities and institutes. According to official figures, about 60,000 students were admitted to public universities and institutes leaving the remaining students without the opportunity to further their education.
ACCI initiated this special, subsidized admission program to alleviate the problem of lack of higher education opportunities. Mr. Haqjo said that it was not the first time that the private sector granted special packages to those who did not succeed in entering public universities and institutes: He said, “Private higher education institutions previously granted admissions to some of High School graduates with subsidized fees in the past. Currently 459 students are studying in private universities and institutes on full scholarships, another 1,900 students with 70% of costs subsidized, and a further 1,500 students on a 50% subsidy.”
Mr. Haqjo suggested that this year 100 students will be granted free admissions, 5,000 students will receive a 50% subsidy, and 3,000 students shall be admitted with 70% of their educational costs discounted. Separately, about 8,000 students, willing to continue their education, will receive employment opportunities in private sector companies to enable them to pay for their education expenses.
This initiative also includes an aid fund for those students who are not capable of paying for their educational expenses.
A committee of representatives from government and non-government agencies will administer and monitor the admissions process. This group consists of individuals from Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Higher Education Commission of the Parliament, National Union of Journalists, Civil Society Organizations, ACCI, and representatives of the various private higher education organizations.