Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The British Embassy in Saudi Arabia has stopped offering British Chevening Scholarships to Saudi students who wish to study in Britain, while continuing to offer them to students worldwide. This comes as a result of the small number of qualified applicants.
Karen Bell, first secretary of the embassy’s economic department spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat and explained that due to the large number of scholarship grants that the Saudi government has recently offered, allowing Saudi students to study in a number of foreign countries including Britain; there was a significant decrease in placements for the British Chevening Scholarships. This drop has been especially noticeable over the past two years, “In 2006, we received very limited applications despite advertising in newspapers and assembling employees in preparation for receiving applications from the public. The number did not exceed 50 students from all of Saudi Arabia,” she said.
Bell revealed that during the past five years, more specifically in 1998, which saw the launch of the Chevening scholarships, the number of Saudi beneficiaries totaled 63 students, all of whom were given the opportunity to pursue their postgraduate studies in a number of fields, among them education, health, economics, and international law. She pointed out that of the received applications; very few had the required qualifications that would befit the internationally reputed scholarship, which compelled them to choose applicants who were below the desired standard.
Regarding the suspension of the scholarship and whether it was only a temporary matter, Bell said, “At the present time, the program has not fulfilled the local demand. Therefore, the organizations in charge in London have agreed to take the decision to presently suspend, despite the decision currently being reviewed, however the possibility of changing it is not very strong.”
The British Chevening Scholarships are granted and administered by British Council enabling overseas students to resume their postgraduate studies United Kingdom.