Eritrean refugees join Ethiopian universities in Tigrai State

Tigrai Online
Oct. 16 2010

Mekelle UniversityOctober 15, 2010 (MEKELLE, Ethiopia) – Hundreds of Eritrean refugees who have for years been camped at various refugee camps in Northern Ethiopia, for the first time have began joining Ethiopian government owned higher institutions.

The decision is taken by Ethiopian authorities ten years after the two neighboring rivals went into the 1998-2000 border war that killed nearly 70,000 people.

The higher learning provision comes following Ethiopian government’s recent decision of ‘out of camp scheme’ that allows Eritrean refugees to live out of refugee camps and settlements.

The newly introduced scheme, which went into force in August following talks between the Ethiopian government and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), allows Eritrean refugees residing in camps to independently live anywhere they chose across the nation, provided that they can sustain themselves financially or if they could sustain from supports of relatives outside.

The new program which was highly welcomed by the HCR also authorized Eritrean refugees to enroll in any of the state or private institution of higher learning as long as they are able to cover the tuition fees. The UN agency will also assist some part of tuition fee and other related costs.

In northern region of Tigray, by the borders to Eritrea, two government universities will enroll a total of 140 Eritrean refugees who met qualifications and finished all necessary entrance exams.

"The Axum University and two campuses of Mekelle University will admit a total of 140 students drawn from various Eritrean refugee camps based in this region," Mekelle University member of staff on a condition of anonymity told Sudan Tribune on Friday.