First online university for refugees

Kiron Open Higher Education
Germany (Berlin)

This year the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes through war, persecution and geopolitical instability has undergone the biggest leap ever seen in a single year. Embracing Germany’s welcoming approach, Berlin-based Vincent Zimmer and Markus Kressler have launched the first online university exclusively for refugees.

The pair have developed a new kind of university that incorporates technological advances that enable online learning to start a revolution in higher education. By offering world-class higher education – free of charge – anywhere in the world, Kiron Open Higher Education is addressing social justice issues, including income inequality or geographical isolation.

All students need to enrol is refugee status proof from the UNHCR and access to the internet (or the ability to download offline courses when able to get online). The first two years of the university course are made up of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in engineering, computer science, business administration, architecture and intercultural studies. The third year allows students to attend a traditional university and attend regular courses, all of which will be in English.

Kiron currently offers courses to 1,000 students, with at least 15,000 other refugees demonstrating interest. Partnered with universities that include Yale, Harvard and MIT, the next step is to be judicially recognised as a university by the end of 2017.

Adapted from a piece on the Futures CentreIf you like this Atlas project support Kiron Open Higher Education here, or check out their crowdfunding campaign.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (02 February 2016)

Project leader

Vincent Zimmer and Markus Kressler, Co-founders

Kiron student Kashif

Kiron Co-founders Markus Kreßler and Vincent Zimmer with student Fatuma

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