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HE prep course for refugees expands to UK’s UEL

The University of East London will launch two courses to help refugees prepare for university study, it has announced, as part of a collaborative project with two other universities in Europe.

The University of Vienna (pictured) is one of the universities involved in the OLIve project. Photo: wikicommons/Bwag.

The OLIve-UP project has received €440,000 of funding from Erasmus+

The OLIve (Open Learning Initiative) course, which has already been rolled out at the Central European University, provides refugee students with a free course to learn skills needed to progress into higher education.

This initial short course will be taught at the University of East London on weekends, beginning at the end of April, and will teach certain skills including computer skills, English for academic purposes and higher education reading and writing.

“All European countries are currently hosting exceptionally high numbers of refugees”

And beginning in September, the university will also offer the OLIve-UP course, which will focus specifically on university preparation for the duration of 10 months.

Students on this course will be able to then progress onto one of the university’s BA/BSc programmes.

The University of East London will offer the OLIve courses alongside Central European University in Budapest, and the University of Vienna. The institutions have also partnered with the European Network Against Racism, which will lead the advocacy work for the institutions.

The OLIve-UP project has also received €440,000 of funding from Erasmus+.

“We know that there is a real demand of educational support among refugees, who are often unable to access paid work and formal education or apply for financial support,” said Aura Lounasmaa, a lecturer at UEL’s School of Social Sciences, who will oversee the new OLIve programme.

“All European countries are currently hosting exceptionally high numbers of refugees, so it’s particularly important that we have partnered with other European universities and organisations to share knowledge and experience.”

CEU began offering its OLIve-UP programme this year, which will last until June.

“The OLIve-UP programme will not only aid refugee scholars in perfecting their English-language skills, but will acclimate them to the European higher education system and allow them to work with other international students and academics in their field of choice,” said Prem Kumar Rajaram, CEU associate professor and OLIve-UP co-director.

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