Refugee University

Bringing higher education to refugees in Kenya.

A piece last year in the Guardian reported that Kenya’s Kenyatta University was opening its doors to Somali refugees in Dadaab:

Kenyatta University is setting up a campus in Dadaab, which is home to a sprawling complex of camps housing around 470,000 refugees, mainly Somalis who crossed the nearby border to escape the cycles of war and drought in their homeland.

Courses in subjects including project management, marketing, finance, and peace and conflict studies will be on offer to refugees and locals in this remote town in north-east Kenya, 90km (55 miles) from the border with Somalia.

A really good initiative this in the most difficult of circumstances.

Dadaab refugee camp

Dadaab refugee camp

Now Inside Higher Ed reports on a Canadian initiative to support this work:

York University, in Toronto, announced on Monday that it had received more than $4.5 million from the Canadian International Development Agency to lead the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project in Dadaab, Kenya. York is one of four universities — along with Moi and Kenyatta Universities, in Kenya, and the University of British Columbia — participating in the initiative, which aims to provide higher education to primary and secondary school teachers in the six refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border. The BHER organizers are focusing on education for teachers – who in many cases have completed only primary or secondary school themselves – with the objective of indirectly improving the quality of education for thousands of their students.

Don Dippo, a professor of education at York, explained that the first cohort of 200 teachers/students will be admitted this summer for a foundation year program. Following the foundation year, the participating universities have committed to offer various two-year diploma and three- or four-year degree programs. The programs will be delivered through a hybrid of face-to-face and online instruction.

BHER’s organizers expect to enroll 200 new students a year, for a total of 1,000, over the five-year term of the grant.

I was hugely impressed with the original steps being taken by Kenyatta University but it is also great to see Canadian universities joining in. It would be even better if UK institutions offered their support to Kenyatta too.

Advertisements

Where will they go? Student Destinations – Global Agent Survey

The latest survey of international recruitment agent views

Given that I am currently at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on a brief visit I thought I would focus on an international story. ICEF (an international market intelligence outfit) and i-graduate have just published their 2012 global survey of international student recruitment agents’ views on destination countries. The headline figures are probably what you would expectwith the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand all showing well. But there are two particularly interesting points in this table and the commentary with it:

Year-over-year, the most remarkable change among leading destination countries can be found in Canada. Since 2008, Canada has risen fully 15 percentage points in its perceived attractiveness among education agents. Compare that to the US (a gain of 5 percentage points since 2008), the UK (a loss of 7 percentage points), Australia (a loss of 1 percentage point), and New Zealand (a gain of 3 percentage points). In 2008, Canada was tied with Australia in third place; in 2012, it is tied with the UK in second. Asian agents in particular registered a great surge in how attractive they consider Canada.

The first is the rise and rise of Canada as a destination. It is really impressive and this perceived attractiveness has, I believe, been confirmed in international student recruitment data. The second is the UK’s decline over the past five years but its stability in the most recent two years when the government’s significantly anti-immigration stance has been most pronounced. The fear must be though that this will get worse in future as the impact of visa restrictions and the reputational fall-out from the London Met debacle bites.

It will be really interesting to see how this plays out in future.