There has been much coverage in the media lately about the refugee crisis in Europe. We have seen many volunteers help those trying to cross borders by providing food, drink, clothes, medication and other forms of help, we’ve also seen Germany open its doors to welcome many refugees coming from war torn countries such as Syria and Iraq. Whilst some refugees have found safety, their future prospects and lifestyle still remains uncertain, many of them wish to begin or continue studying. However without the correct paperwork this can prove to be quite a challenge, as receiving the necessary documentation can take a while. Kiron University is an online German university that is crowdfunding a project to help refugees through the form of Education by offering them the opportunity to be able to study for a degree in the five following areas, tuition free.
- Computer Sciences
- Inter cultural Studies
The University aim to offer the students a choice of courses out of the whole curriculum of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the first two years. The degree program consists of a 2-year online part at Kiron University and a 1-year offline part at one of Kiron’s partner universities. Only before the last academic year, the offline part, the students have to fulfil the requirements of their partner universities in order to enrol regularly. Degrees would then be granted in cooperation with recognized State Universities and according to the legal requirements. All the previously selected MOOCS, some of which may be from leading global university such as MIT and Harvard, will be recognised by the partner University, the idea is to give the displaced students some time to receive some of their paperwork but not take up from their time that they could be using to study.
The university is still seeking funding; the initial funding goal of €120,000 is needed to finance 100 scholarships at €1200 per student, whilst the stretch goal once successfully funded is to run a pilot of 1000 students and to pay for maintenance of the internet platform. Further information can be found here.
Michelle Manks, manager of the Campus Engagement & Student Refugee Program at the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) said “Higher education is often the last thing on people’s minds in terms of humanitarian response, except if you’re going to rebuild a country, if you’re going to provide hope to people who have been displaced, you need to provide these types of opportunities,” [i]
WUSC recruits refugees from overseas and places them in post secondary institutions across Canada, where grants are funded by universities and student unions. WUSC has placed some 1,500 student refugees from 37 countries in Canada to date, including 86 this year.
Western Sydney University announced on 10th September 2015 a half-million dollar scholarship fund to assist refugees, with plans to raise a total of $12 million also through a fundraising campaign. The University’s Board of Trustees has endorsed the initiative with $500,000 AUD set aside to create scholarships for refugees in Australia on humanitarian visas. The fund will be held in trust by the University and will be directed entirely to support eligible students from 2016, the aim of the scholarship which is valued at $7,500 AUD will cover living expenses and student fees and will cover all course ranges up to Masters and PhD. Further information can be found here.
The above are just a few of a list of different projects that are taking place to help support refugees in some kind of way to help improve their education or career prospects.
More information can be found below:
Refugee Support Network: http://www.refugeesupportnetwork.org/access-university
University of the people: http://uopeople.edu/
Building Bridges Programme: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/faculties/faculty-of-social-sciences-and-humanities/areas-of-the-faculty/school-of-social-professions/subject-areas/refugee-assessment-and-guidance-unit/
University of Regina: http://www.uregina.ca/external/communications/feature-stories/current/fs-09112015.html