Work programme 2015-2018
Higher Education Supporting Refugees in Europe
The newly launched inHERE project (Higher Education Supporting Refugees in Europe), which is coordinated by UNIMED, addresses the challenge of facilitating integration and access of refugees in European Universities.
The refugees crisis in Europe worsened in 2015, when over one million people – refugees, displaced persons and other migrants – have been forced out their home country, and they have made their way to the EU. Proximity to the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have made Europe the preferred destination.
Associated with increased migration flows, the social dimension of Higher Education is concerned with providing opportunities for refugees to participate in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Refugees can face many barriers to accessing HE beyond the financial support, such as a lack of information, advice and individual guidance sensitive to their specific needs, issues related to recognition of credits and qualifications without documents, inadequate provision of intensive language courses for academic purposes, restricted access to government student finance schemes.
Within this context, the inHERE project works with EU Higher Education staff and faculty members, to empower them so that they are able to take an active stand towards the integration of refugees at institutional and local level, based on international peer-support. A key principle for education in situations of emergency and crisis is indeed rapid response, using a community based approach.
The overall objective of the inHERE project is to contribute responding to the refugee crisis in Europe strengthening knowledge sharing, peer-support and academic partnership among Higher Education Institutions on initiatives and resources aimed at facilitating integration and access of refugees in European universities.
The project is funded by the European Union, within the Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership programme. It is lead by a group of European institutions: UNIMED (Italy), Sapienza University (Italy), University of Barcelona (Spain), EUA – The European University Association (Belgium), Campus France (France). UNHCR is also involved as associate partner. The project will kick-off in Rome on September 26-27, 2016 at UNIMED premises in Rome.
An analysis of good practices from EUA’s Refugees Welcome Map will lay the groundwork for the development of such training and support tools. Currently, EUA’s campaign to map the higher education sector’s commitment to welcoming refugee students and researchers has collected more than 200 initiatives from 31 countries.
Access and inclusion of refugees in higher education
The European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) organised a workshop titled ‘Access and inclusion of refugees in higher education‘ on 4 May 2016 in Brussels (Belgium).
This refugees crisis is a challenge for Europe. Higher education is one of the actors confronted with the need of positioning and solving that crisis. During the ‘Access and inclusion of refugees in higher education’ workshop, EURASHE wanted to give an overview of the current situation and evolution of the refugee crisis as it is nowadays.
Recognition of qualifications
The Syria Crisis was highlighted by students and higher education experts meeting to discuss the recognition of higher education qualifications for refugees.
Refugees and displaced persons face special challenges in respect of access to education, one of which is the assessment and recognition of qualifications and access where documentation is missing or incomplete.
On 29 February, 2016, the 7th Meeting of the Committee of the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region also known as the Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) was held at the UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
UNESCO and the Council of Europe convened the committee of representatives from 53 States Party to the LRC, who adopted the Statement on the Recognition of Qualifications held by Refugees, Displaced Persons and Persons in a Refugee-like Situation which invites them to fully implement its provisions.
A follow-up event, also jointly organized, entitled “Recognition of qualifications held by refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation,” was held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on 1 March, 2016.