Higher Education for Refugees Trapped in Transit

Dr. Martin Hall, Senior Associate of RITE, writes in the Times Higher Education how technology can  help to educate people fleeing from conflict, but notes that the conservatism of universities must be overcome also.  The obstacles blocking the path to higher education, he says, are formidable for all refugees. But there is a widening gap between the prospects of those who manage to stay in host countries as their asylum applications and those either don’t make it out of the camps, or who are returned to them. A model for providing blended learning in circumstances such as these is being put together at the Rotterdam School of Management. The Rotterdam project – Enjaz, “accomplishment” – will be founded on partnerships between NGOs that are trusted within a camp and participating universities. The online curriculum and learning resources will be backed up by person-to-person support. In addition to providing the structure that is essential for learning under such difficult conditions, this approach will serve to hold open a window on the volatile circumstances of camp life.  But any plan to provide for refugees stuck in permanent transit will be difficult; Enjaz’s challenge may also prove to be the conservatism of universities in recognising new forms of attainment.

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Source: Times Higher Education, April 11, 2016.