The need to support refugees in getting access into universities and higher education is raising throughout Europe. WELCOME is aimed at improving and enlarging higher education offers and favouring refugees’ access to it through the exchange and sharing of best practices and new ideas among partners as well as with other associations and institutions working in the field.
Representatives of each partner organisation met in Hannover (Germany) on the 20th and 21st of April 2017 to share local good practices and further explore new ideas to ease the access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers. We have discussed about the current situation in the different countries and how each partner organisation is working towards the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in higher education as well as in hosting communities. Among the activities implemented by the partner organisations, there are language courses, workshops and training activities.
The German partner, gave insights and information on the situation of Lower Saxony and good practices in the field promoted by universities and/or other educational institutions. The projects presented gave to the partnership new inputs to develop further ideas and projects.
Among the good practices presented, there are the intensive courses for better qualified refugees. They are part of the program of Lower Saxony to support the professional careers of refugees and asylum seekers. The program is funding language training courses for refugees with no specific legal status required. The overall aim of the courses is to enhance the linguistic competences of refugees for gaining access to university, but also to vocational education as subordinate goal. More information on the programme on www.aewb-nds.de (German only).
Another initiative presented has been the project Wadi aimed at empower refugees to become more active in society and to increase their self-initiative. As part of the project, workshops for 15-20 participants for 5-6 hours are organised in which they discuss problems participants face in daily life. After that, the participants look for options to solve their problems in the framework of democratic values and the existing institutions and support systems. One of the main methodologies used is the theatre of the oppressed.
The Servicestelle OHN is a government-affiliated organisation, aiming at providing services to improve the access to university admission for non-traditional students in Lower Saxony. Founded in 2012 and based in Hannover, it coordinates activities in the process of opening up universities, supports the development of target group specific educational offers and consulting services, provides a database with on-line study preparation courses and is responsible for networking and public relation in the field. In the framework of the ESF funded state-wide programme “Opening up higher education”, several activities aiming at improving university access for refugees and migrants were funded and accompanied by the Servicestelle OHN.
The partner organization of WELCOME project, VNB, presented some formal and non-formal methods used in Germany to assess competences and skills, such as:
- Anabin, an online portal for the assessment of learning outcomes;
- OnSet for Refugees, an online test for German language skills;
- TestAs, a preparatory test for academic studies;
- Portfolio for Refugees project by the University of Oldenburg.
WELCOME is a 2 years project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme, Key Action 2 Strategic partnership for adult education. The project aims to facilitate the sharing of good practice in this area; each of the five partners has something to offer here in times of both their own work, and their regional and national environment.
The project brings together 5 partners:
- uniT – Verein für Kultur an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (Austria), coordinator;
- VIFIN – Videnscenter for Integration (Denmark);
- VNB – Verein Niedersächsischer Bildungsinitiativen e.V. (Germany);
- CARDET Centre for Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology Ltd (Cyprus);
- CESIE (Italy.
For further information on WELCOME project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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