Can MOOC’s be a Model for Providing Quality Higher Education to Refugees? Lessons from the First Experiment

Abstract

The literature on refugee studies thus far has explored the role of education in the settlement of refugees in their host countries (Rek 2005). Efforts to integrate them through various socio-economic programmes have met limited success with millions forced to work illegally in the informal economy (Orhan 2015). Although holistic assistance is required to ensure their effective integration, we argue that access to quality education is the single most important variable that can define their socio-economic success in years to come. Traditional models of education have been largely inefficacious in bridging this gap as refugees face a multitude of obstacles in accessing higher education in their host countries from legal documentation and high tuition fees to language barriers. The advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has paved the way for a new model to facilitate democratization of education, past the borders of power and space. Thanks to the widespread usage of smartphones and tablets among Syrian refugees in Germany, Krion Open Higher Education is experimenting with the first ever attempt to provide world class education to refugees through MOOCs. The current research paper summarizes the lessons learnt from Kiron’s pursuit to bring Syrian refugees on board with the German higher education system, deriving from the engagement with its first batch of students. We also summarize policy suggestions for effective implementation and scaling up of the model.



Author Information
Thomas Greenaway, University of Warwick, UK
Lisa Hillers, Kiron Open Higher Education, Germany
Florian Rampelt, Kiron Open Higher Education, Germany

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2016
Stream: Digital technologies and communications

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