According to UNHCR, only 4.5% of resettlement needs were met in 2019, despite the growing need for durable solutions for refugees. In order to expand higher education opportunities for refugees – under the Global Compact on Refugees and the Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways – governments, universities, civil society organizations and other higher education stakeholders, are expanding and/or initiating new education pathways across the globe (particularly tertiary education).
A Global Task Force on Third Country Education Pathways was launched in May 2020. It outlined minimum standards for third country education opportunities which lead to a durable solution for individuals who meet the refugee definition, including those who do not have legal refugee status but are in need of international protection. Such third country education programmes are a tangible way for states and the international higher education community to provide safe pathways and durable solutions to refugee students while demonstrating solidarity with those countries hosting large numbers of refugees. Under the EU Migration Pact, the European Commission has also committed to promote the further expansion of higher education programmes, with support from EU funds.
Several pathways for refugee students with differing structures have developed and are emerging in Europe in recent years. Programmes like the German DAAD Leadership for Syria and Africa and the Italian University Corridors, offer refugees the opportunity to access mainstream student pathways, within a partnership between the national government, tertiary education institutions and civil society organisations. A second approach admits refugees under resettlement-based refugee sponsorship schemes. The most known being the Student Refugee Program (SRP) in Canada managed by WUSC, via which universities and/or higher education institutes and volunteer groups (mostly students, faculty and staff), offer student scholarships and local support networks that provide integration support to refugee students during their time at university.
The SHARE Quality Sponsorship Network (QSN) roundtable, organised by Caritas Italy and the SHARE Network, will take stock of current approaches, frameworks and practices being developed, and focus on rights-based approaches offering durable solutions for refugees. The roundtable will be succeeded by an in-person conference scheduled to take place in 2022.
Participation in the roundtable will be by invitation only. Click here to view the agenda.