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Free Online University for Refugees

ISNUK is proud to be representing in the UK Kiron University, a free online university set up specifically for refugee students. Refugee students in the UK are usually classed as international students and are as such required to pay international student fees. However, through Kiron, this expense will no longer be necessary. ISNUK is helping to raise funds to support refugee students in the UK.

21-10-2015 by Student World Online

No one with an Internet connection could have missed reading something about the refugee crisis in Europe.

Over half a million migrants have claimed asylum so far this year, and nearly 3,000 have died trying to make the journey across the Mediterranean. In a desperate attempt to escape the violence taking place in countries like Syria and Eritrea, refugees have been risking their lives and sometimes the lives of their family in order to find safety, resorting to getting on overcrowded and unsafe boats and living in improvised refugee camps. As debate ensues about how countries like Germany and Sweden will handle the influx, one organisation has tackled the matter head-on.

Kiron University is making it a priority to provide refugees with a free, accessible education. This innovative non-profit has created an online platform and educational service that allows any refugee, regardless of location, financial situation or background, to have a chance to earn a real university degree. By creating partnerships with online course providers and traditional universities, Kiron offers accredited courses in architecture, computer science, business, engineering and intercultural studies. The courses are three years long and can be studied part-time for those looking after families or with jobs. Kiron University already has 15,000 subscriptions from refugees ready to begin their degree.

In the UK, Kiron is represented by the International Student Network UK (ISNUK), a social enterprise supporting international students in Britain.

How does it work?

Kiron University has taken the best from online courses (or MOOCs) and traditional, offline learning to create a blended and high-quality curriculum. They have partnered with large providers of online courses like Coursera and edx.org along with traditional universities from around the world, the latter of which award the student with a degree at the end of their three years. During the first year, students receive a general education and English language tuition in order to prepare them for the degree course. In the second year they begin their chosen subject, and in the third year, those who are able can even go and study in person at one of Kiron’s partner institutions.

As for all the difficulties facing refugees in starting their new lives, Kiron University appears to have it covered. There are no course fees whatsoever and, so long as students have access to the internet and one of these documents, students can study anytime, anywhere, while being supported by experienced professors. The University even offers free psychological counselling, equipment, and additional English or German language tuition to those who need it, and they have a permanent campus in Berlin where students can meet.

How is it funded?

Kiron University is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. This means that all of its funding comes from donations and investors. Watch the video for more information.

How will it help?

Refugees arriving in Europe arrive with very little. They often have no papers, no proof of their education or professional training, or of course, money. Many refugees will also face a language barrier, discrimination and potential unemployment. But, by providing refugees with a university education, they will be able to settle in their new country and have a better chance of finding work and stability. Find out how you can support Kiron University here, or check out their crowdfunding campaign.