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Unlocking Higher Education for Refugee Students

Students from a refugee background are set to benefit from a project recently awarded funding in the latest Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) round.

Researchers within the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre and Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle along with partners at Macquarie University and Curtin University will investigate the experience of students from a refugee background transitioning into and through higher education.

A total of $347,000 has been awarded by the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) to the project, ‘(Re)claiming social capital: improving language and cultural pathways for refugee students into Australian higher education.’

The project is being led by Associate Professor Seamus Fagan, Director of the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, and aims to better support students from a refugee and refugee-like backgrounds.

“Currently students from these backgrounds are trying to access higher education but face significant obstacles including language barriers, financial restraints and a history of disrupted educational background all on top of settlement issues,” said Associate Professor Fagan.

“With the OLT grant we hope to raise the profile of diverse student populations and give them a voice in higher education. Through improved resources and evidence-based programs, we can help students better navigate through the complexity of their needs to access and achieve in higher education,” he added.

The first phase of the project will include collecting qualitative data on the experiences of students’ transitioning from TAFE, high school and Intensive English Colleges into higher education.

Posted 27 July 2015 Posted in Culturally and linguistically diverse, General, Low SES