The newly launched inHERE project – Higher Education Supporting Refugees in Europe kicks-off in September 2016, at UNIMED premises in Rome. The project is funded by the European Union, within the Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership programme. It is lead by a group of European institutions: UNIMED (Italy), Sapienza University (Italy), University of Barcelona (Spain), EUA – The European University Association (Belgium), Campus France (France). UNHCR is also involved as associate partner.
inHERE addresses the challenge of facilitating integration and access of refugees in European Universities. The refugees crisis in Europe worsened in 2015, when over one million people – refugees, displaced persons and other migrants – have been forced out their home country, and they have made their way to the EU. Proximity to the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have made Europe the preferred destination.
Associated with increased migration flows, the social dimension of Higher Education is concerned with providing opportunities for refugees to participate in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Refugees can face many barriers to accessing HE beyond the financial support, such as a lack of information, advice and individual guidance sensitive to their specific needs, issues related to recognition of credits and qualifications without documents, inadequate provision of intensive language courses for academic purposes, restricted access to government student finance schemes.
Within this context, the inHERE project works with EU Higher Education staff and faculty members, to empower them so that they are able to take an active stand towards the integration of refugees at institutional and local level, based on international peer-support. A key principle for education in situations of emergency and crisis is indeed rapid response, using a community based approach.