Grants not paid to students in France and China

Madagascan students studying in France and China have been facing financial difficulties because the government has not been paying their grants, according to local reports.

L’Express de Madagascar reported that about 300 students in France had not received their monthly grant of €485 (US$630) for several months.

They presented a ‘book of grievances’ to the Madagascar embassy in Paris, which undertook to notify the relevant authorities.

The ‘book’ said that officials transfers had not been carried out for some five months, while some students had received nothing for 2011 and a grant for only two months of the following academic year “while we have already begun the 2012-13 university year”.

At the same time the students raised problems they faced over the formalities for renewing residence permits, rents and unpaid enrolment fees, and fines for ‘irregular’ use of public transport, reported L’Express.

Sanndya Soazara, spokesperson for the students, said: “We can’t just wait for suitable jobs for students to turn up who, after normal study time, must take on extra work, often very hard and badly paid, to supplement their budget and satisfy their needs for survival, already reduced to the bare minimum.”

The Ministry of Higher Education in Madagascar recognised the non-payment problem, said L’Express. It reported a ministry official who said that in spite of promises the finance ministry had not released the funds.

Students who had not received their allowances for a year had not sent in their tuition certificates, and were therefore no longer considered to be students.

In November, Newsmada reported that some Madagascan students in China who had not received their grants for the 2011-12 university year had turned to prostitution to survive.

It quoted one of the students as saying the last payment dated back to April, since when the higher education ministry had ‘completely forgotten’ them. He said 80% of the students had nothing left to eat, and they had appealed to the Madagascan authorities to find a solution as soon as possible.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original report.