The number of refugees in the Netherlands is increasing rapidly. These people need our help and also have much to offer the Netherlands. After all, they include talented young people and professionals with a higher education. In other words, refugees can also be highly skilled migrants, temporary or otherwise. Higher education plays an essential role in preparing refugees to play a valuable part in society and in the job market.
Refugee students have the additional requirements of language lessons, advanced vocational and continuing education, academic guidance and help with making the transition to the job market. Universities of applied sciences and universities want to meet these needs and are receiving support to this end from various parties, including the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging Hogescholen), the Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU), the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF), the Dutch expertise centre for diversity policies in higher educational offices (ECHO), the expertise and service centre for internationalisation in Dutch education (Nuffic) and other organisations. These parties are collaborating in the Refugee Higher Education Task Force.
Taskforce for Higher Education
In September 2015, The Hague University of Applied Sciences took the initiative to bring together the organisations required to promote participation in higher education. The goal was to ensure an efficient intake of students with refugee status and to overcome any obstacles in a timely manner. This initiative resulted in the creation of the Higher Education Task Force.
Participation in higher education
The Hague University of Applied Sciences has signed an intention agreement with the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF in addition to the internal taskforce for refugees and the activities associated with that. The UAF supports highly educated refugees in starting, following and completing their studies and in finding a job consistent with their capacities.
Many refugees have already completed their degrees in their land of origin, but returning to studies or additional education is often necessary to be able to build a new life in the Netherlands.
The intention agreement consists of 4 guidelines:
- Support and guidance of refugee students;
- Scholars at Risk programme: offers scientists a temporary safe place to continue their work;
- Diversity on the workfloor;
- Social responsibility, public support and awareness.