At least 1 of 10 refugees in Switzerland has a high school or a university diploma. Nevertheless, the path to Swiss higher education institutions is difficult for people with a refugee background. There is a lack of funded language courses up to level C1, which is a prerequisite for admission at many universities. In addition, the recognition of previous achievements and diplomas is very time-consuming and often remains unsuccessful. If admission is nevertheless possible, financing the studies is another challenge.
Therefore, the Swiss Student Union (UNES) advocates for more equal opportunities for refugees and launched the project Perspectives – Studies in 2016. To the position paper (FR/GER) and the demands | 2016
During the first phase of the project from 2016 to 2019, projects were set up at around 20 Swiss higher education institutions that are committed to helping refugees. More than 600 people took part as free auditors in academic courses and more than 700 students supported them in this process. Despite the large number of participants, only a small number of refugees were able to register regularly. The various systemic barriers remain. To the final report on the first phase of the project (FR/GER)
To improve the situation and to enable more refugees to study while being regularly admitted at a higher education institution, a new approach to higher education and integration policy is needed. The current phase of the 2019 to 2022 project therefore focuses on three areas:
1) ADVOCACY & LOBBYING
What: The advocacy and lobbying work of Perspectives – Studies focuses on cantonal and federal parliaments as well as on higher education institutions. Within the framework of the working group “Integration through Education” in October 2020, refugee students and actors from higher education sector developed current demands for access to higher education institutions (FR/GER), which form the basis for current political work.
How: National campaign Education for All – Now! in cooperation with the public services union (VPOD, ssp) and Solidarités sans frontières, lobbying and parliamentary work, campaign on the campuses of higher education institutions in cooperation with local projects.
2) NETWORKING & RAISING AWARENESS
What: Specialists in the fields of integration and education need information on how to support refugees on their way to study. Perspectives – Studies organises information and networking events, and brings together actors from these fields.
How: Community of Practice (CoP), networking events, round table, info attacks via email, information events for specialists, press and public relations
3) CAPACITY BUILDING
What: In Switzerland, there are currently projects and initiatives at several higher education institutions (see overview) that support refugees on their way to and during their studies. Perspectives – Studies works closely with these local projects and promotes their exchange of competences and knowledge.
(1) Study «Geflüchtete Familien» 2017, Gnesa 2018
1) LOCAL PROJECTS
We work closely together with projects for refugees at various Swiss higher education institutions : Go to overview
2) HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
- INVOST Integration pre-studies at universities of applied sciences – HT FHNW und HES-SO
3) SWISS CONFEDERATION
4) CAREER AND STUDY COUNSELLING / GUIDANCE
- Profunda Suisse: Association for specialists in career counselling (FR/GER/IT)
- AGAB: Swiss association for study counselling (FR/GER/IT)
- National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) Switzerland (FR/GER)
- Swiss Refugee Council
- Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (SIETAR) Switzerland
- Solidarity without Borders (FR/GER)
- Swiss Redcross (FR/GER/IT) | Information and sharing platform for volunteers «Infobox Migration»
- VPOD/SSP – Public services union (FR/GER)
- Mercator Switzerland Fundation
- Volkart Fundation
- EKM citoyenneté
- Schweizerische gemeinnützige Gesellschaft (SGG)
- Hirschmann Fundation