EUA: give refugees access to HE

Nieuws | de redactie
30 oktober 2015 | The European Universities Association (EUA) calls upon the EU and its member states to enable refugee students to gain access to higher education. “Urgent actions is necessary, requiring leadership and willingness to accept responsibility for addressing and managing this crisis.”

According to the EUA the recent influx of refugees into Europe underlines the fact that the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East is not a regional problem but an emergency with global implications. At its Council meeting last week the EUA urged for broad consensus on the integration and support for displaced students and scholars.

Commitment in Yerevan

In May this year at the Bologna Ministerial meeting in Yerevan, European countries underlined their commitment to fair recognition, social inclusiveness and increased internationalisation as was agreed upon in Bologna years before.

Many universities in Europe already have shown great willingness in providing support to refugees and with Science4Refugees the European Union hopes to give academic refugees a warm welcome. The EUA wants European governments to support a list of actions in order to do more to give students access to higher education.

-Ensuring the broad provision of information on the various educational opportunities open to refugees;

-Developing foundation and bridging courses and specific programmes (propaedeutica) that allow refugees to acquire the necessary skills for entering higher education;

-Providing language teaching as a key element of societal integration and prerequisite for successfully completing a study programme;

-Guaranteeing access to education for school age children;

-Waiving or shortening ‘waiting periods’ to enter higher education and to qualify for student financial support and benefits;

-Offering access to higher education also for non-recognised refugees;
-Ensuring flexible conditions, procedures and processes for the recognition of degrees and diplomas, periods of study and prior learning, in line with the Lisbon Recognition Convention;

-Offering funding support for refugee students and scholars and ensuring that additional means are made available for higher education institutions that engage in this process in the form of bursaries, grants and structural support measures, both from national funding sources and form Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and the European Social Fund.

Rapid integration as a goal

According the EUA the expected outcome should be “a more rapid integration in the host country and increased chances of contributing to the economy and society as a whole. Failing to act now may result in resignation, failure and social marginalisation, not only of current refugees, but also of future generations.”

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