Benefits of foreign scholarship

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Al-Watan

WE are on the threshold of the 12th phase of the foreign scholarship program, which is named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Many sons and daughters of the country who have obtained scholarships under the program are preparing to experience a new life.

The scholarship program is not just a study tour abroad, but is an integrated experience having cultural, social and scientific dimensions. It entails much more if the students are determined to make use of the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and experience in different fields.

There are several issues that are unknown to the newly selected scholarship students and may obstruct their studies. Some may have an elderly mother and there is no one to look after her. In this case a student may drop the plan to go abroad for higher studies.

Director General of Scholarship Department Dr. Mohammed Al-Omar has stated at a scholarship forum last year that the ministry would always stand by scholarship students and would try to solve their personal problems as far as possible.

If a student faces an issue similar to the one stated above it will be presented to a specialized committee. As an exemption, the mother will be allowed to accompany her son and she will also receive tickets and health insurance coverage.

It is quite obvious that a female student will have to change her guardianship from father or brother to her husband after getting married. Husbands of female students accompanying them will be given facilities to continue their studies under the scholarship program if they had completed 50 percent of their course.

Some students wonder whether a non-Saudi spouse would receive the same facility. Al-Omar says the priority will go to Saudis, but many women students are seen accompanied by their non-Saudi husbands.

The program’s 12th phase offers job assurances to students on completion of their courses. Students will be asked to sign job contracts before traveling abroad on scholarships. However, a good number of students were surprised when they did not receive the promised job guarantees, which goes contrary to the Education Ministry’s hashtag campaign “Your Scholarship is Your Job.”

I see many benefits and advantages for scholarship students and believe that it would contribute to their social and intellectual development. Any state that gives priority to education shows its strength. At the same time students should make use of this program effectively.

Age and years of experience are important factors in a scholarship graduate landing a suitable job. If a person is 30 years old and does not acquire enough experience for various reasons, notably the scholarship program, he or she should review the obstacles that stand in the way of their employment.

We must know that the ministry cannot guarantee jobs when scholarship students return in their late 30s or 40s without gaining sufficient experience. For many students the scholarship program was a successful and distinguished experience, especially if the specialization they opted did not exist in our universities, or if there was an employer ready to absorb him or her on return from abroad.

Unfortunately some students will be wasting their time abroad by specializing in subjects that would not guarantee them a suitable job even after obtaining a doctorate. This often happens due to ignorance of students about the job market and making decisions without consulting experts.

There is still time for young Saudis to live up to the expectations of the nation, either by acquiring new knowledge or by contributing in other ways to the establishment of a prosperous society.


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