Refugees and asylum seekers who are in the UK are currently invited to study at a London university for free of charge as part of a radical new scheme.
The University of East London is to launch a new short course recognized as the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) that will provide refugees and asylum seekers the educational platform to progress into a foundation course and ultimately a full bachelor degree.
Candidates will be permitted to participate in seminars and workshops in higher education reading and writing, English language for academic intentions, computer skills, and popular issues around social sciences, migration, and globalization.
The first OLIve course will be a short program with a capacity for 40-persons, to be taught on Saturdays starting from April this year.
In September, UEL will offer the next stage in the educational pathway with the launching of a ten-month program.
The OLIve course is currently funded by a 440,000 Euro grant coming from the EU’s Erasmus+ program and comes as part of a joint initiative between UEL, the Central European University (CEU) in Hungary, the University of Vienna, and the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).
All three universities are to run related access courses and are presently in the process of developing guidelines for the best practice with guidance from ENAR.
UEL is located in Stratford City and the East London Docklands. It is home to the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, and hosts to the Refugee Council Archive which is an extensive worldwide collection of books, reports, journals, and films on forced migration.
Last year, the university conducted a “University for all” higher education short course, which was taught to refugees who live in the Calais Jungle.
A lecturer at UEL’s School of Social Sciences, Dr. Aura Lounasmaa, was part of the small academic team that worked in Calais and will manage the new OLIve program.
She stated: “We recognize that there is a real demand for educational support among refugees, who are many times denied access to paid work and formal education or apply for financial support.”
“All European countries are presently hosting outstandingly high numbers of refugees, therefore it’s particularly important that we have partnered with some other European universities and organizations in order to share knowledge and experience.”