Riyadh, which suspended diplomatic relations with Canada on Monday, will “stop training, scholarship and fellowship programs” there, state-run Al-Ekhbariya television reported.
Plans to relocate 7,000 students and their families in Canada to other countries, primarily the United States and Britain, were already underway, education ministry official Jassem al-Harbash said.
The decision came after Canada demanded the immediate release of human rights activists detained in a new crackdown, including the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. Badawi’s wife and children currently live in Canada.
More than 7,000 students from Saudi Arabia are enrolled in university programmes in Canada, according to Harbash, head of the education ministry’s scholarship programme.
These students, 2,000 of whom are enrolled in graduate or medical school, are accompanied by more than 5,000 dependents.
“The US and UK will get the lion’s share, given their size and the education opportunities there, and we’ve begun coordinating with the missions there”, Harbash told Al Ekhbariya TV.
Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore are also on the list of potential destination countries, Harbash said.
Source Credit: Arabian Business