A report has been published arguing that UK universities should do more to help refugee students. The report was published by Georgina Brewis, a Senior Lecturer at University College London.
The report also looks at previous refugee crisis, such as those fleeing the Nazi regime in the 1930s, Hungary in 1956, and Chile after 1973, and how those student refugees offered considerable advancements and contributions to all areas of UK life, from the economy to academia, sciences, culture, and the arts.
The report explains that universities are typically well placed to respond to changing social needs: in this case the current refugee crisis. Through policies such as fee waivers, scholarships and schemes, refugee students could be hosted at UK universities and by pairing them with host students, could also be better integrated into UK society.
Some universities are developing individual initiatives, but Brewis argues that a sector-wide approach would be more effective. She supports this by using refugee crises of the past as examples of the benefits and success of accepting and integrating refugee students.
Brewis does acknowledge that sometimes the benefits of accepting refugee students into host countries can be outweighed by the cost: often they move on to other Western countries, especially to the US after they have received their education and are better qualified to adjust to a career-based way of life.
She also states that this should also not be considered a profit-loss, as often those refugee students return to help with ‘economic and social reconstruction’, even after many decades: making accepting refugee students more of a long-term investment than short-term loss.
The UK will take in 20,000 refugees directly from Syria over the next five years. Fife Council who, will then be responsible for providing housing and minimal benefits, will host 260 of these refugees from the UK programme.