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Germany: €26m for refugee study program

The state of Nordrhein-Westfalen in western Germany has pledged €26 million to a program aiming to continue the integration of refugees into study, while it has announced a new program with a focus on refugees promoting sustainable internationalisation at universities in the region.

The funding seeks to help refugees bridge the gap to higher education, and eventually access the German work market. Above, Nordrhein-Westfalen's largest city, Cologne. Photo: Flickr/ Markus Trienke

The NRWege ins Studium program will help around 8,000 refugees access higher education

Run in cooperation with DAAD, NRWege ins Studium offers academically promising refugees scholarships, and the funding will also be used towards a new internationalisation program called ‘NRWege Leuchttürme’.

“These young people contribute to the further internationalisation of our universities”

Started three years ago, the NRWege ins Studium program will help around 8,000 refugees access higher education in the state by the time it comes to an end in January 2020.

The ministry of culture and science has made around €26m available for the new NRWege Leuchttürme program, which will run until 2022, and aims to make the internationalisation of universities in Nordrhein-Westfalen sustainable.

“Education is a central key for successful integration,” said Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, minister for culture and science for the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen.

“Universities in Nordrhein-Westfalen contribute significantly to this with their special support for refugee students,” she added.

“For that reason, the state government is continuing with the successful program NRWege ins Studium, and at the same time the NRWege Leuchttürme sets new standard for further internationalisation of universities in Nordrhein-Westfalen.”

The NRWege ins Studium has been a success story, according to DAAD-president Margret Wintermantel.

“It makes a decisive contribution to enabling refugees to obtain a German university degree and optimally prepares them for entry into the German labour market,” Wintermantel explained.

“I am pleased that the introduction of the new program – NRWege Leuchttürme – will further strengthen our efforts to sustainably develop our universities, which are open to the world.

“As additional international students, these young people contribute to the further internationalisation of our universities, and bring cultural, linguistic and scientific contributions.”

Under the new program, universities can apply for funding of up to €250,000 per year to develop and implement measures to strengthen their internationalisation.

 Programs preparing refugee teachers to work in German schools will also be funded, as well as programs preparing graduate refugees for the German job market.

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