Edition 214 - February 2019

DAAD study on the integration of refugees in the German higher education system

DAAD has published the second part of a study on the integration of refugees in the German higher education system, looking at Study Preparation and Transition into Regular Degree Programmes. A progress report on Academic preparation and access to higher education was already published in November 2017. Both reports are based on data reported by German higher education institutions participating in DAAD’s INTEGRA programme, Integrating Refugees in Degree Programmes (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, April 2016 and February 2018). Data have been validated and supplemented with surveys commissioned to student refugees from the first group of INTEGRA course participants.

The report provides an overview of the funding programmes, including INTEGRA; it presents the data collected and methodology used; and it describes the personal background and language skills of the participants. Chapter six provides detailed information on the study-preparatory courses for refugees in the context of the INTEGRA programme, divided by type of institution, federal state, type of courses offered and type of participants. Among the major problems encountered by refugees in their path to higher education, the most recurrent are the language barrier, their subject-specific deficits due to their interrupted academic careers and the fact of being older than their fellow international applicants. 

These problems were also highlighted by the participants of the Welcome – Students Helping Refugees programme, which is also briefly analysed in the report. It is a student-organised project helping student refugees to get advice on academic and daily life in German universities by other university students. In 2017, it is estimated that the project reached almost 30 000 refugee students and it contributed significantly to their language learning. In conclusion, after three years of funding, the study confirms the trend that a growing number of student refugees are applying for admission to undergraduate programmes. In the concluding remarks, the report suggests further developments and consolidation of results, by also monitoring refugee students’ transition into the labour market. 

Link to the report

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