A group of German entrepreneurs has started a crowdfunding campaign for an ambitious project regarding higher education for refugees. Kiron University wants to offer free education to refugees in the form of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), and partnerships with universities. On the organization’s website, they write: “Kiron turns the barriers for refugees to enter higher education into goose bumps.”
The first two years of the program can be done online, from all over the world. There is a physical campus, in Berlin, where students are also welcome. The university establishes a curriculum from MOOCs that are already available on the web. All of this is done under the supervision of professors, education experts and partner universities. In the third year, the students do have to attend regular courses at a university. Graduates will receive a degree from Kiron University as well as from the partner university they attend. Right now, the institution is working on getting funding and official recognition, the board says on the website: “We plan to be judicially recognised as a university by the end of 2017 – our team can also count with a group of professors, some of whom worked partly at Harvard and other world-leading institutions before, who have a lot of experience in building a university. In the meantime, our partner universities lend us their judicial status as a university.”
The people behind Kiron University do not only organize this because of their views on the refugee situation, but also because they think education could benefit more from technological advances and focus more on the individual learner. They have talked to all kinds of experts on this matter, like online course providers, universities and decision makers in politics and economy, and decided that setting up a university like this is achievable.
Right now, the partner universities only come from Germany, and the organization is looking for more partners in the UK. After that, Kiron University will be introduced in more European countries.
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