The murder of a Nigerian student in Famagusta has highlighted the difficulties faced by students coming from African countries to study at universities in North Cyprus.
After interviewing some of the students, Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Kibris’ reported that educational consultants abroad present the TRNC as a land of promise. That it is an EU country, a country with low living costs and a country with high employment opportunities. Consequently, students in African countries are lured to the TRNC. They pay the agencies a fee in the hope that they will be able to study and work at the same time. Unfortunately, the situation that the students face is completely different.
Interviewees said that they had problems finding accommodation because they were African. Finding work was difficult and if employed, they were paid less than the other workers. After paying for rent, travel and food, they were unable to pay tuition fees. This means that they lose their university place and have no legal right to stay in the country. Trapped in poverty, they are exploited and can only find low-paid work or are given work as “runners” in illegal activities which gives them low pay or even no pay.
YÖDAK (Higher Education Supervision and Accreditation Board) and the universities continue to work on overcoming the legal issues that African students have faced.
However, the students, who fall into this situation, are afraid to talk or demand their rights because they fear deportation. For this reason, they preferred not to give their names to the newspaper saying that they want to meet with President Akinci to ask for help.