The German government is planning to increase the number of refugee scholars by 2030 in a bid to address the “frighteningly low” level of access to higher education for refugees.
Through its Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative or DAFI, the government said it was aiming to achieve 15 percent of refugee scholars to access tertiary education from only 1 percent at present.
Current access to higher education for refugees poor
“While 36% of young people around the world can get a higher education, the number among refugees is just 1% — a frighteningly low number,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas underscored during a conference held on Tuesday night.
DAFI scholarship manager Maren Koeger added that the goal was “ambitious” but said she was optimistic it could be achieved if universities for example “are maybe ready to waive tuition fees.”
“It could be through foundations that are committing to include refugees into the programme,” she said, adding that the private sector could also help through funding scholarship grants.
On Wednesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there are 71 million displaced people worldwide, and that figure is expected to rise further. Of the total, there were 10,000 applicants vying for 1,134 new scholarship slots.
“We should not resign ourselves to the narrative that it is impossible to solve this huge global problem,” UNHCR’s Filippo Grandi said.
Initiative for displaced people has helped over 15,000
DAFI is a programme named under German-born physicist Albert Einstein to reward and encourage excellence. It is offered to support the education of displaced people in the countries where they reside.
Since it was founded in 1992, DAFI has already helped send 15,500 students to tertiary education.
The grant covers four years of scholarship including school registration and tuition fees as well as monthly support for students to pay for their transportation, housing, and food needs.