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Study openings for refugees: structured through recognized Kiron modules

Published 12. Mai 2017, 11:44 h
Cooperation agreement between Bielefeld University and the ‘Kiron Open Higher Education’ platform enables a smooth transition to regular higher education courses  

This Friday (12.05.2017), Bielefeld University and the social start up Kiron Open Higher Education signed their cooperation agreement. Together they share the mission of helping refugees to advance their education, thereby promoting their long-term integration. The agreement between Bielefeld University and Kiron sets out their cooperation ‘on equal terms’. This has become possible through the INTEGRAL² project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This project is taking the online formats previously used by Kiron (so-called Massive Open Online Courses - MOOCs) and further developing them into modules just like those offered by universities.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rektor der Universität Bielefeld, und Markus Kreßler, Mitbegründer von Kiron Open Higher Education, unterzeichnen den Kooperationsvertrag.Foto: Universität Bielefeld
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, rector of Bielefeld University, and Markus Kreßler, co-founder of Kiron Open Higher-Education, sign their cooperation agreement. Photo: Bielefeld University
Kiron is an education platform enabling refugees to start higher education studies in an unbureaucratic way. Students learn for an average of up to two years in English-language online formats before then switching to a partner university such as Bielefeld University. Kiron grants refugees the opportunity to start studying free of charge regardless of their refugee status and where they are living.

Based on the agreement, the Faculties check the recognition of the Kiron modules against their own curriculum. Recognizable modules are documented in writing. If Kiron students show they have completed these modules, then recognition is guaranteed. Once these students meet the eligibility requirements for enrolment, they can enter study courses in a higher study semester and go on to gain their bachelor degree. Cooperation on a bachelor study programme with a major in business studies and informatics as minor is still in the planning stage but almost complete.

‘Our goal is to get refugees into regular study courses,’ says Professor Angelika Epple, the Vice-Rector for International Affairs and Diversity. ‘Cooperation with Kiron is a further important building block in this process.’ Ronny Röwert from Kiron adds: ‘Bielefeld University has many years of experience in study-course-related recognition and credit procedures. This contributed decisively to making this agreement possible.’

Bielefeld University offers a comprehensive programme for refugees who wish to study. Since the 2015/2016 winter semester, the Naturwissenschaftliche Orientierungsstudium (NAWIOS), a preparatory course in the natural sciences, has been providing access to introductory lectures in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and informatics in which refugees can participate with the status of occasional students (Gasthörer). In addition, Bielefeld University is also cooperating closely with Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in offering preparatory German courses for refugees in PunktUm, the University’s own German language learning centre. In September 2016, this was joined by the new Mercator clearing house. This deals with each refugee individually in order to determine whether they are eligible for which study course and which preconditions they have to meet.  

Further information

On Kiron:
The social start up Kiron Open Higher Education was founded in 2015 by Vincent Zimmer and Markus Kreßler. Kiron is the first education platform in the world to offer digital solutions providing refugees with unbureaucratic access to higher education and successful learning. Kiron’s 2.0 integrative educational model is composed of up to two years of online study followed by a further two years of regular study at a partner university leading to a recognized bachelor degree. The platform enables refugees to start studying free of charge regardless of their refugee status and language skills. The goal is not only to promote economic and social integration in each specific host country but also to help refugees get back to determining their own lives by starting to study. In line with this goal, the programme is supplemented by additional support services oriented towards the special needs of these students.
For further information, go to our website under kiron.ngo or folllow Kiron on Twitter and Facebook.

On the INTEGRAL² project:

www.bmbf.de/de/bmbf-foerdert-soziales-start-up-kiron-fuer-fluechtlinge-3281.html
https://kiron.ngo/our-projects/integral2/  

On Bielefeld University’s services for refugees:
www.uni-bielefeld.de/refugees

Die Vertreter von Kiron Open Higher Education sowie die Vertreter der Universität Bielefeld sind zur feierlichen Vertragsunterzeichnung in der Universität Bielefeld zusammengekommen. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
The representatives of Kiron Open Higher Education and Bielefeld University met at the signing ceremony in Bielefeld University. Photo: Bielefeld University
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