Filling the gap in higher education for refugees

Via Inside Higher Ed

Accessible higher education for refugees seemed impossible in the past. With just one percent of refugees attending university as reported by the UNHCR, the need for higher education among refugees had been substantial.

In recent years, several American universities have stepped up to fill this gap in global education. At the Kibiza refugee camp in Rwanda, Kepler, a nonprofit organization, partners with several universities to bring higher education to refugees that live in the camp.

The Kibiza refugee camp in Rwanda started in 1996, and has since been a home to refugees fleeing the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Astonishingly, a few universities and organizations have been able to provide higher education opportunities to the Kibiza camp since its creation.

The Ikea Foundation and Southern New Hampshire University first provided the camp with wireless connectivity and laptops. Soon after, a program to bring food to the students was initiated.

In May of this year, EdPlus at Arizona State University announced their partnership with Kepler, and their plans to set up a pilot online course at the Kibiza camp.

EdPlus and Kepler partnered together by creating the Borderless Opportunities for Learning and Development (BOLD) project, which is working towards finding new opportunities for accessible higher education for refugees.

Meanwhile, Southern New Hampshire University, another partner with Kepler, has graduated its first 16 students from the Kibiza camp with associate's degrees. The university received $10 million from anonymous donors in order to fund and expand its refugee education pilot.

Similar to the universities working with Kepler, the Berlin-based nonprofit, Kiron Open Higher Education, partners with universities to bring two-year online course modules to refugees. The University of the People also enrolls more than 1,000 refugees, including more than 500 from Syria.

These institutions are the first to scale education at refugee camps, and break down the global education barriers that underserved populations face.

Read the full story on Inside Higher Ed