Closing the Gap between Syrian Refugees’ Demand & Supply of Higher Education : 2- Current Efforts


According to a UNHCR policy briefing (2015)  numerous scholarship programmes  at higher educational level have been made available to refugees in their countries of asylum, as well as in third countries, particularly in the European Union. However, the total of all available scholarships for Syrians promised since the start of the crisis, does not exceed several thousand; consequently leading to a huge gap between the opportunities provided and actual demand, remembering that the demand reaches hundreds of thousand eligible youth for HE.  

All-virtual learning mode

According to Moser-Mercer (2014) from the University of Geneva, students’ engagement with all-virtual courses in fragile contexts cannot be described as regular, nor sufficient. In those contexts, set learning outcomes are usually not met and learners simply drop out. (Moser-Mercer, 2014) . A landscape review conducted to study HE potentials in low resource environments observed that most of those programmes do not have sufficient processes in place that would help the educators to understand the individual context of the learner. Additionally, there are not consistent technical support processes to address the usually limited ICT competencies and needs (Gladwell et al, 2016).

Information sharing portals

This modality is mentioned here, despite the fact that it does not provide HE per se, because of the tremendous effort exerted by the international community to build a series of those informational portals to support SRY. Those portals aim to provide support, advice and guidance  beside providing information about opportunities. Examples of those programmes are Higher Education Alliance for Refugees (HEAR), AlFanar Media with its scholarship searchable database, and UNESCO’s Jami3ati.