Nearly 8,000 Saudi scholarship Students in Canada will face a move that will derange the study programs of thousands of students, not to mention the fall semesters at many Canadian institutions and schools, Saudi Arabia has ordered its scholarship students to return home from
This major announcement will affect all scholarship students currently enrolled in Canada. The Canadian Bureau for International Education reports that there were just under 10,000 Saudi students in Canada as of 2017, and CNN places the number of current scholarship recipients at 7,000. Both of those numbers are down significantly from even a few years ago when the Saudi government began to wind down the massive King Abdullah Scholarship Program. The remaining scholarship students have now reportedly been advised to plan to transfer to other countries to continue their studies in the coming academic year.
This move made a rapid escalating diplomatic spat between both countries. Also, the Saudi has accused Canada of “intrusion” in their domestic affairs.
Canada believes in always standing up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world. They say they will never hesitate to promote these values and also believe that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy. The Saudi government is stringent in its view that Canada is overreaching in this case. The Canadian position is an open and transparent interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and opposing to the most basic international norms and all the charters governing relations between countries.
Saudi Arabia has not accepted and will not accept interference in its internal affairs or impose dictates on it from any country. The Canadian position is an attack on Saudi Arabia that requires a firm stance towards it. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its absolute and explicit rejection of the position of the Canadian Government.
The official government from the kingdom of Saudi has not yet given any official statement or commented publicly on how current scholarship students will be affected, but the suspension of training, scholarships, and fellowships to Canada has been confirmed. Also, the government is
working on an emergency plan to speed the transfer of students to other study destinations.
There were related reports in Canadian media place that the number of affected students is in the range of 15,000–16,000. But, the official figures from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada indicate the actual number of Saudi scholarship students in Canada this year is less than
8,000. Even though, the economic impact of the move will be measured in the millions of dollars. “For Canadian universities, it will be a significant hit as stated by Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.