Higher Education
supporting Refugees
in Europe

Linnaeus University (SE)

Linnaeus University supports newly-arrived immigrants settle in.

Concerning the refugee issue, Linnaeus University acts primarily within the areas of education and research. The university is also working to develop a method for a more efficient validation of newly-arrived immigrants’ skills. “Linnaeus University will work to help people who come to Sweden settle in and become a resource for the Swedish society,” according to former Rector Stephen Hwang.

At the university, there are already a lot of things going on, for instance, staff who work with unaccompanied refugee children are being trained and there is also different types of training relating to the learning of newly-arrived immigrants. A new programme has been launched in 2016: the integration and diversity programme.

Linnaeus University (SE) Photo

© at Linnaeus University
Linnaeus University (SE) Photo

© at Linnaeus University

Linnaeus University has also taken initiative to contribute in the work with validating the skills of newly-arrived academics, in order to make it possible for them to complement their skills quicker and, thereby, getting access to the Swedish labour market quicker. The university has established a full-time position for a person who works on the establishment of a legally secure and sustainable method for this. Linnaeus University is a leading actor on the national level. “My ambition is that Linnaeus University should be on the forefront in the validation work”, says Stephen Hwang.

Linnaeus University also has research within the fields of integration and ethnic discrimination, social integration and cultural diversity, and culture and identity meetings.

As for collaboration with the surrounding society, the university works, for instance, through the Innovation network at Linnaeus University, in which some 20 organisations collaborate with the university. We are also working to make it possible for university lecturers and administrators to do internships at the university.

Impact
The initiative has been running since 2016. We have met and initiated dialogues with about 100 people for validation, but several of them have had insufficient language skills. Therefor they have now started language courses before the validation process can begin.

We have the ambition to receive all applicants for validation. Requirements:
  • If you are interested in studying at Linnaeus University
  • If you have a foreign education and wish to complement it for the Swedish labour market
  • If you are determined to climb the ladder at your workplace
  • If you have experience but no formal certificate
Also, scholarships are given to asylum seekers to be able to study courses and programs at LNU. We received about 900 applications.
Policy links
The validation delegation 2015-2019 was appointed by the government to follow, support and develop a validation system within education and work. One of the missions of the delegation is to make a proposal for a national strategy. Linda Leonhardt is LNU’s expert to the delegation.
Strategy & Mission
Linnaeus University wants to be in the forefront in the development of methods and ways of working with validation.

The university has a strong commitment to integration. It’s initiatives for integration, refugee students and researchers are explicitly linked to the university strategic vision and mission.

A concrete website about our integration initiatives at Linnaeus University has been set up, compiling a range of information for newly arrived refugees and the opportunities of study as well as the services at the university: https://lnu.se/en/meet-linnaeus-university/This-is-linnaeus-university/vision-and-basic-principles/integration/
Collaboration
We have initiated a network for validation with participants from more than 26 higher education institutions with over 40 individuals as members.

Linnaeus University has a long-standing collaboration with a number of actors in the Linnaeus region to promote integration and to help create good conditions for a successful reception. Linnaeus University has an established collaboration with the local, regional and national organizations, such as municipalities, regional councils, Employment office, Skolverket, Migration board and the national network for validation for HE.

During spring term 2017 Linnaeus University in collaboration with three municipalities has developed a course for supporting refugees to start their own business, through a commissioned course together with Västervik, Hultsfred and Vimmerby.

To develop cooperation with regional organizations connected to integration, education and research, Elin Lindkvist at the Office of external relations, runs since 2011 a regional integration network. Examples of concrete activities that the network has resulted in are conferences, tailor-made courses for people working with newly-arrived, degree projects and follow-up research, as well as information meetings for newly-arrived who are interested in further education. The network meets roughly four times a year.
Sustainability
We have the aim to develop methods and ways to work for validation that are sustainable, legally secure and transparent over time.