The portal for the 2023/24 cycle is now open for applications from Afghans, over two months after individuals from other countries were able to apply.
Students from Afghanistan previously expressed their frustration at being excluded from the scheme, which sees successful scholars undertake a fully-funded master’s course in the UK.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office says it has now assessed the situation and that it is only offering the scholarship opportunity to Afghans who are residing outside of Afghanistan and in a country eligible for UK overseas aid.
The government said that students living in Afghanistan “would likely face serious security risks, and financial and logistical implications, over which the UK government has no control” and that this decision would be kept under review for the 2024/25 academic year.
Despite the limitations, campaigners have celebrated the news.
“The Chevening brand now continues for Afghanistan”
“I welcome it as an important step in the positive direction after the recent full closure of the scheme for Afghanistan,” said Saeed Reshteen, a Chevening alumnus from Afghanistan.
“The Chevening brand now continues for Afghanistan and it means that some Afghans will be able to benefit from the scheme this year. And I hope during upcoming reviews, the accessibility will further improve, and that Afghan women and men living in Afghanistan could also benefit from it.”
Labour councillor Peymana Assad, who was born in Afghanistan, previously speculated that the government had closed the scheme to Afghan students to prevent them from claiming asylum in the UK.
The updated Chevening website page states that the scholarship is not an offer of resettlement – a caveat that does not appear on other country pages.