For the past several years, refugee access to higher education has been a critical topic in the European context and represented a chance for universities to scale up services for all students, not just for refugees. Refugees can face many barriers to accessing higher education, including a lack of information, advice and individual guidance sensitive to their specific needs, inadequate provision of intensive language courses for academic purposes, and restricted access to government student finance schemes. Research with refugees and the experiences of service providers indicate that, amongst refugees who have completed secondary school, there is strong desire to attend university. However, refugee access to higher education remains limited - opportunities for refugees in countries of first asylum to pursue higher education are scarce, and the educational and professional needs of higher educated refugees do not play a prominent role in resettlement programs. At the same time, both asylum seekers and refugees face problems in integrating into the labour market in most Member States due to a lack of necessary skills and qualifications (EEPO Refugees synthesis report). Today, European teaching staffs are insufficiently prepared and trained to deal with diverse classroom settings.
The main objectives of the DigIT project are:
- to build digital education readiness among adult refugees/immigrants, and - to develop digital pedagogical competencies of higher educators. More specifically, DigIT will achieve the following specific aims:
- develop and implement educational and mentorship resources that will enable higher education professionals (teachers, educators, administrative staff) to improve their knowledge and competencies on work with adult refugees in form of Toolkit to higher education training for educators, and
- develop and use the open educational resource (OER) and free and open source educational platform by bringing together adult refugees/immigrants in form of Digital Database and Online Forum.
A thoughtful and customized approach to academia and organizational structure which considers transferability, and has high quality staff with a good understanding of refugee contexts will be implemented. In addition, clear understanding and rationale for the pedagogical approach, clear resources and learning outcomes, with appropriate academic support mechanisms will be developed. Finally, accessibility and inclusivity throughout all steps of education process will be taken into consideration as well as effective integration of technology in a manner appropriate for the operating context.
Research analysis report
Toolkit to higher education (HE) training for educators
Digital Database with study alternatives for refugees/immigrants in different EUcountries