Perspectives, challenges & practices for integrating displaced students in European universities
EUCRITE - European Centre for Refugee Integration in Higher Education, is an Erasmus+ funded program (Sept. 2017 – October 2019) whose main goal is that of providing support and training to administrative and academic staff in their interaction with displaced students.
University partners are Aalto University-Finland, Grenoble Institute of Technology-France, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven-Belgium, Darmstadt University of Technology -Germany, Graz University of Technology-Austria.
Social inclusion has been recognized multiple times by the European Commission as being one of the principle objectives of many of its programs and schemes. From education to employment, inclusion represents undoubtedly the key factor guaranteeing a successful integration process. Refugees join many other minority groups who are domestic targets of exclusion: the opportunity of commencing or continuing higher education becomes a crucial step not only towards perfecting skills but also towards entering the European labour market and thus supporting the key values of equality and social justice upon which the Union is founded. Transnational exchanges of administrative good practices, the design and implementation of measures to increase enrolment and ensure retention of displaced students coupled with planned staff training events constitute measures intended to encourage and foster social inclusion. In order to build trusting relationships with students and provide an accessible and safe environment, staff members need to be adequately trained through peer exchange of practices and constant discussion about areas that need improvement which, in turn, can be exported in other local contexts.
The associated partners will help accomplish the consortium’s goal of enabling refugees a better and faster access to HEIs by sharing their expertise. By promoting intercultural competence among its staff, HEIs effectively invest in social engagement encouraging, in turn, students’ civic skills.
One of the consortium’s main objectives is that of providing a series of measures and training materials that can be extended by HEIs in interacting with other underprivileged groups, such as pioneer students, or first-generation enrolees: although these students themselves are not refugees, many come from families with migration histories and may also benefit from support and some of the resources mobilized for displaced students.