Mohammad Masih Hamidi, an Afghan student, won the first-position title in an Olympiad event that ended on Saturday in Iran.
This is the first time since the establishment of the Science Olympiad program that an Afghan student wins first place in a scientific competition in Iran.
The Olympiad scientific competition included 1,680 students, mostly Iranians, who were in the final semester of their bachelor’s degree during the solar year 1399 (2020).
“Recently, I learned that I had won the first position title in students’ Mathematical Olympiad. I am happy and proud of it not only for seeing the result of my efforts, but I could make my beloved people happy, which is a big pride for me,” said Mohammad Masih Hamidi, first position owner of Iran’s Olympiad scientific competition.
Hamidi was born in Iran’s Mashhad city and is currently pursuing his master’s degree.
Hamidi went to school in Mashhad when only a limited number of Afghan migrants were allowed to study at school and university in Iran.
When Hamidi was a child he could not join a school that was near to his house because Afghans were not allowed to join Iranian schools and could only join those rare schools set apart for Afghans.
After failing to get permission from the nearest school, he joined an Afghan school that was in a remote area that required expensive daily travel by car.
“I was interested in mathematics from the time I began school. I participated in the Kankor in 1395 and achieved 811th position among 150,000 participants, mostly Iranians, and so I could continue studying in my favorite field, which was mathematics.” Hamidi said.
Afghans who live and study in Iran said the country still applies restrictions on Afghan migrants who are willing to pursue studies or want to go to school and university.
Even those Afghans who earn high scores in the Kankor exam (university entry test) in Iran are allowed to select only limited subjects at certain universities and are obliged to pay money to continue their studies, while Iranians study free of costs.
Zohra Tajik, who has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iran and is currently a lecturer in Afghanistan, says that there are many overwhelming challenges in the way of Afghans trying to obtain higher education in Iran.
Tajik says that even though her mother is Iranian, she needed to pay to continue her education in Iran, and she could not choose the university where she wanted to study.
“With the support of my father, I could pursue my master’s degree in Iran. Though I participated in both master’s and bachelor’s degrees through the Kankor exam, I had to pay the study cost that was assigned by the Ministry of Higher Education of the Government of Iran, my father used to pay those costs. Most of my friends could not afford it and they left their remaining studies.”
According to information provided by the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education, about one thousand Afghan students are studying in Iran under government scholarships.