Kiron University offers world-class academic degrees for refugees. Anytime, Anywhere, Tuition-Free
At a time when many countries are closing their borders and taking serious steps to keep out refugees, Germany has taken an inspiring initiative to integrate refugees in the society by offering them a university degree for free.
Germany has launched the first online university for refugees, which offers them a free world-class education wherever they are in the world.
Kiron University says all students need is a computer and an internet connection. For those who do not have access to the internet, offline courses are offered which can be downloaded where internet access is available.
“Kiron University offers world-class academic degrees for refugees. Anytime, Anywhere, Tuition-Free” reads the welcoming message on the University website.
“Our vision is not just to overcome the obstacles refugees face to access higher education, but to build a better, more individual-centered university for their needs – regardless of their documents. Kiron creates hope for a better future through education” according to the Univeristy page.
Kiron University (formerly known as Wings University) wants to give refugees back their dignity as humans and a perspective in life by providing them with the basic human right of higher education.
Based in Berlin, Kiron currently offers courses from five different schools to 1,000 students. At least 15,000 other refugees have shown interest in joining the university.
Kiron University students take courses online for the first two years, working toward a bachelor’s degree while they apply for asylum and acquire the paperwork and qualifications needed to enter a partner university, local to where they are, to complete the degree.
“Basically, everyone can already log into these courses,” says Markus Kressler 25-year-old is a co-founder of Kiron University. “What we do is we just take these courses, bundle them into degree programs and make cooperation with real universities so that they also recognize these courses in order to really get a degree in the end.”
Kiron University Partnering with Universities across Europe and Africa
Kressler says Kiron is already partnering with 30 universities throughout Europe and in Africa, and currently is in talks with U.S. Ivy League institutions. He says the partnership is attractive to established universities.
“Every kind of university has about 30 to 50 percent free seats in the third year because so many students quit,” he says. In Europe, it’s customary to earn a bachelor’s in three years. Kiron students simply fill these empty seats.
How to enrol in Kiron University?
To enrol, students have to submit documents including the recognition of refugee status from UNHCR.
To fund its activities, the non-profit university launched a crowdfunding campaign before it launched in October that has so far gathered 199,180 Euro (US $218,429).