Egyptian students who were studying at universities in Ukraine and Russia before fleeing the war in Ukraine are pleading with the Egyptian government to help them overcome the difficulties they have been facing since returning to Egypt.
Around 3,500 Egyptian students were studying in Ukraine at the outbreak of the war — although according to an official at Egypt’s Ministry of Education, nearly 85% have now returned home. Nearly 9,000 Egyptians, meanwhile, are enrolled in Russian universities.
On Oct. 16, Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Expatriates Affairs Soha Gendy took part in a video conference with a number of Egyptian students currently enrolled in universities in Ukraine and Russia to discuss their problems.
The virtual meeting was held in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, amid the repercussions of the Russian war on Ukraine and the return of a large number of Egyptian students from Russia and Ukraine to Egypt due to the ongoing fighting.
The meeting lasted for more than three hours, with the participation of nearly 69 students. The students spoke of the main obstacles facing them in relation with their studies in Russia and Ukraine, most notably their inability to obtain their papers from Ukrainian universities so that they could apply to universities in other countries.
Ahmed Eid, student at a Ukrainian university who attended the meeting, told Al-Monitor that the problem lies in the Ukrainian universities’ complex administrative procedures to release academic transcripts to Egyptian students.
Eid has not been able to obtain his course transcripts so far and could be forced to pay the university fees even though he is not currently present in Ukraine.
Speaking about the situation with universities in Russia, he said that Egyptian students are facing difficulties in transferring tuition to these universities due to the Western sanctions imposed on Russian banks. The late transfer of university fees has resulted in many students having to pay fines.
However, Eid said the situation for Egyptian students at Russian universities is much better than those enrolled in universities in Ukraine, where the students are witnessing constant electricity and heating cuts, as the security situation in Russia is more stable, except for the city of Belgorod that is under Ukrainian shelling.
He noted that several Egyptian students who are now in Egypt want to return to Ukraine to complete the last year of their studies. However, Gendy refused during the meeting to facilitate their return because of the security situation in Ukraine, and instead vowed to help Egyptian students in Ukraine overcome the challenges they are facing.
Magid Abu el-Enin, former dean of the Faculty of Education at Ain Shams University, said that the situation at Ukrainian universities is different from that at universities in Russia, as Egyptian students who returned from Ukraine to Egypt are unable to obtain academic transcripts from Ukrainian universities. Also, the universities are demanding the students to pay the tuition for the new academic year even though they are absent.
Abu el-Enin pointed out that the meeting between Gendy and the students touched on the importance of communicating with the Ukrainian side through the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate the procedures for obtaining transcripts from Ukrainian universities, as well as facilitating their enrollment in Egyptian universities to complete their studies.
He said that many Egyptian students who returned from Ukraine are unable to apply to public or private universities in Egypt because their academic records are incomplete.
The meeting between Gendy and the Egyptian students ended with the formation of a special crisis committee tasked with following up on all the students’ problems and working to solve them in coordination with the relevant authorities and ministries. Gendy also refused the students’ return to Ukraine that could pose a threat to their lives in light of the unstable security situation there.