22 SES 14 B, Migrants, Refugees and Global Challenges in Higher Education
With the recent refugee influxes, the agenda of the host countries is overwhelmingly busy with the integration of refugees, and as expected, this discussion is mainly carried on within the frame of employability and economic integration of the newcomers for which education may function as a key. As Morrice (2013) argues, especially accessing HE for the young refugees would play an important role in developing a professional identity and finding employment. In many countries refugees are considered either as the victims of exploitations, proxy wars, economic imbalances or as beneficiaries of social welfare systems (Seukwa, 2013). In either case, refugees are viewed from a deficit-oriented perspective where they are mainly considered as unskilled and undereducated. However, it should be accepted that refugees come from all different layers of society with their various skills, and experiences; it is important to provide HE opportunities where they can use their qualifications, training, or previous experiences. Accessing HE would bring social, economic or personal benefits, increase the trust and also civic engagement, raise competences and make them more visible. HE should be considered as a key role especially for the refugees in terms of support to get included in the host country in a normalizing process were language, citizenship, options, rights, intercultural competences are cultivated. In this presentation, we compare the country context for possibilities, requirements, regulations and challenges to access HE in Austria and Turkey. Turkey is mainly the first host land for refugees and a country, which refugees consider as a transition possibility in their journey to Europe. On the other hand, Austria is depicted as a target country to settle in. With this research, we compare the phenomenon with both EU and non-EU perspective. In the earlier years of the Syrian war, providing humanitarian aid overshadowed the educational needs; and the HE facilities were not in the agenda for long time in Turkey. The expanding war in the neighbour country made Turkey to rethink about the permanency of the refugee population within its borders and about offering HE facilities. On the other hand, as a country having a certain legal status for refugees and years long experience with them, Austria was mainly challenged with the magnitude of the refugee wave and the uncertainties due to new regulations or conventions within EU zone.
UNCHR. (2015). DAFI annual report. Retrieved from http://www.unhcr.org/58eb96777 Trevor, S. (2014). Migrants and refugees- Global issues. Palgrave Macmillan. United Nations Refugee Center (UNHRC, 2017). http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html
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