What happened to the "Student Friendly Aid of 500TL promised by the TRNC government to all registered students

Sometimes during the pandemic in July, the TRNC government through the Ministry of Education promised to provide financial Aid of 500TL to all registered students in the Island and in August a protocol was signed to that effect. It's been over three months now, and nothing has been heard about the project. What happened to the project?

The scope of the Aid which is a part of the Student Friendly Island Project was aimed at lifting the living conditions of students studying in the TRNC and to make TRNC a country preferred by students.

The project also aimed to create a discount system that TRNC students studying abroad and all university students studying in TRNC can use in their shopping.

Within the scope of the Project, 500 TL will be provided in a card (Ada Card) which will have many features to the electronic banking applications to all students who will register to TRNC universities in 2020-2021 academic year.

With the card, students can gain a lot from universities, markets, real estate agents, clothing and many more. To this effect, the government promised to contribute 5 million TL per year to the service of this card.

The project with the Cooperative Central Bank (Coop Bank) for the card and discount system was signed on Friday, August, 21 and at the time, Minister of National Education and Culture Nazım Çavuşoğlu, said all students who receive the card will get 500 TL. Since then nothing was heard of it again.

First the reason for this project was to boost and change the image of the TRNC abroad as the country was getting negative feedback as a difficult place to live and study in. In the last few years, the numbers of foreign students who applied to universities in the TRNC dropped by the thousands so the need for the project. 

Despite the threats posed by the pandemic around the world, students came to the TRNC in their numbers for the 2020/2021 academic year and in part due to the rigorous promotions carried out by study agencies working with universities in the island. 

The TRNC did well when it delivered food aid to about 8,000 students during the lock down that lasted for almost 5 months while universities continued online education, for providing free coronavirus testing and quarantine accommodation for all in-coming students, and universities did their part as well by offering discounts to students for economic reasons, but the reality on ground is that the TRNC has become a much more difficult and expensive place to live in due to rising inflation.

The rate at which the Turkish Lira is crashing at the international market is not funny, that at the moment, a 100 Turkish Lira cant get you a nice home cooked meal. Bills are outrageous, transportation has increased, resident permit processing has increased, rents are still on the high with majority of landlords demanding to be paid in Pounds and for a period of at least 6 months. 

Many students who want to work can't even find work and some of those who managed to find are not being paid. Many took to crime due to frustration, while many are living from hand to mouth. Majority of the blame here can be directed at study agents who tell prospective students lies about what is and what is not about the island but then the government need to do it's part and fulfill the promise it made to prospective students. 

With the introduction of the card, the economic burden brought about by the ever rising inflation can be reduced to an extent.

Universities should also do more to offer students with good grades scholarships and promote the need to share resources with the less privileged.

Landlords should also do their part by taking rents in Turkish Lira and at a reduced cost. The government should try and see to this too. 

Let it not be that the project was some kind of public stunt to get students to the island but a real intended project to help it's student population. 

The government can change the narrative of the island today by putting student's welfare at the fore front of the government.

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