Furthermore, in the context of crisis, it is fundamental that these programs ensure the appropriate level of protection and safety and that are underpinned by the general “do no harm” approach, as recommended by UNHCR (Education brief – Higher education considerations for refugees in countries affected by the Syria and the Iraq Crises, July 2015). Further to the provision of scholarship programs, new initiatives have been developed that offer innovative forms of online and blended learning to provide mass higher education to refugees (SANSOM MILTON, 2018), such as:

logo uopeople University of the People – Created in 2010 to respond to the Haiti crisis, the University of the People is a not-for-profit, online university, which offers tuition-free education to those with a high-school qualification and proficiency in English. The only fees are for examinations and there are scholarships available for thosewho cannot afford these. This means that the institution offers entirely free, accredited degrees to students all over the world. Since the Syrian crisis exploded, 400 Syrian refugee students have begun studying at the University of the People and a further 2,000 applicants are on the waiting list. Around half of all of those who are studying are still based in Syria itself, with the rest living throughout Turkey, Lebanon, Germany, the UK and elsewhere.
universite geneve

IN-ZONE – linked to the University of Geneva, IN-ZONE pioneers innovative approaches to multilingual communication and higher education in communities affected by conflict and crisis. To do so, it designs, develops and scientifically validates learner-centered and technology-supported pedagogical models. Its projects arelocated in three different regions, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as globally.

logo Kiron web KYRON University – Launched in 2015, Kiron enables access to higher education and successful learning for refugees through digital solutions. In order to obtain a recognized qualification, Kiron combines the online courses with services of the traditional universities: after the required academic success, students switch after the first two online years to a university with traditional classroom courses.

COUSERA – In June 2016 it announced “COURSERA FOR REFUGEES" in partnerships with some organizations. In one year it provided more than 5,000 refugees with access to courses, for a total of more than 5,900 individual course enrollments; supported refugee learners in earning more than 1,300 Course Certificates from top universities, logging more than 30,000 learning hours across 800+ courses; partnered with more than 30 major nonprofits, including Save the Children, Upwardly Global, and Kiron Open Higher Education; added subtitles in Arabic and other languages to dozens of courses, in partnership with its Global Translation Community and Tarjama, a leading Arabic language solutions provider; provided partners and the refugees they serve with access to Coursera’s full suite of enterprise features-including curated courses, certificates, detailed progress reports, and a community portal.

Finally, it is also important to underline the role played by Governments either through funds allocated for tertiary education in crisis contexts by their aid agencies or through assistance programs to conflict-affected societies. This kind of assistance is generally focused on capacity-building and on strengthening the resilience of the education systems.


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