EU to fund hundreds of scholarships for Syrians

French, German, Dutch and United Kingdom organisations supporting international cooperation in higher education are administering a new programme funded by the European Union to facilitate access to education for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

The HOPES – Higher and Further Education Opportunities and Perspectives for Syrians – programme is to provide 400 scholarships for refugee students from Syria in neighbouring recipient countries. The programme also includes English classes for 400 students as well as educational counselling for a further 42,000.

In addition, small grants will be available for credit-based short preparatory courses and to boost other innovative measures introduced by universities in the region.

Funded via the European Union’s Madad Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, set up in 2014, HOPES is to be administered by the German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD, the British Council, Campus France and the Netherlands EP-Nuffic organisation for international cooperation in higher education.

The EU has provided an initial €12 million (US$13.7 million) for the next three years. HOPES funding can be augmented by third-party contributions.

The British Council says for its part it will be responsible for working with local ministries of higher education and universities in each country to develop university-based English language and study skills courses to enable Syrian students to enter higher education institutions.

In a recruitment advertisement for a ‘project expert’ for the programme, it says the project will also seek to decrease the tuition fees of partners' organisations for Syrian students, support policy dialogue and lead knowledge and experience sharing across the targeted countries. There will be an English language teaching expert attached to each country and a part-time online adviser to provide assistance as part of the project.

The project will also develop, in consultation with the EU and local universities, a certificated Leadership and Management Development Programme for selected successor generation leaders in the partner universities and ministries, the British Council says.

The programme considers academic potential among applicants but also seeks to create opportunities for disadvantaged refugee families. It is to cooperate closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Margret Wintermantel, president of DAAD, said: “We are going to create sustainable perspectives for Syrian refugees in the recipient countries with measures tailored to their educational needs. There will be an urgent requirement for such people with skills once the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Syria is underway.”

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