UEL’s refugee programme shortlisted in awards
17 November 2022
The University of East London's learning programme for refugees and asylum seekers was shortlisted in the 'International Collaboration of the Year' category at the Times Higher Education (THE) awards.
UEL's Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) was shortlisted at the 'Oscars' of the higher education world tonight, with the awards ceremony in London celebrating outstanding work and achievement across a wide range of activity in UK higher education. The winner of the category was the University of York.
Since 2017, OLIve at UEL has been supporting forcibly displaced people to access higher education through a programme of in-person and online preparatory courses, pastoral and financial support, and one-to-one mentoring.
OLlve helps students to find out what skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply for and succeed in UK higher education.
Hundreds of students have gone through the programme since its inception with many continuing their studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Vice-chancellor and president of the University, Professor Amanda Broderick said,
We are so pleased our transformative programme to support refugees in higher education was shortlisted and a runner up at these prestigious awards. At the University, we aim to offer those who wouldn’t normally have the chance to get into education the opportunity to study, and that is exactly what OLIve does.
"The OLIve programme has dramatically changed the lives of more than 1,000 students. Seventy per cent of OLIve UP students were admitted to graduate degree programmes, while 85 per cent achieved language exam results which made them eligible for admittance to higher education or employment.
"This initiative goes beyond education and provides students a place where they belong and can call home. And importantly, our expertise allows us to advise other institutions on refugee inclusion strategies. I would like to thank everyone involved in the programme."
Dr Yesim Deveci, director of OLIve at UEL, said, “OLIve stands in solidarity with forcibly displaced people to support them to access higher education and oppose the hostile environment in the UK. We work together with academic and administrative colleagues across the university to support students to overcome the obstacles they face in accessing higher-education and enabling them to thrive. This helps refugee students to pursue their education in the UK and rebuild their social networks. We are delighted our work has been recognised in the awards, and we will continue to support refugees and advocate for equity in Higher Education. We look forward to embedding this inclusive approach at UEL including through our application to become a University of Sanctuary. ”
The OLIve programmes were conceived by UEL’s Centre for Migration and Belonging (CMRB) and a consortium of universities from the EU (Central European University, University of Vienna, Bard College Berlin and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, with current support from the Open Society University Network).
OLIve at UEL includes:
- OLIve UP - a Level 3 Certificate, one year university-preparatory course which gives students the necessary credits to apply for undergraduate degrees at any UK HEI.
- OLIve WP - a 12 week short-course offering a combination of English language, IT, public speaking, creative workshops, academic tutoring and 1:1 mentoring to support students to apply to university.
- Research in Praxis – continuous action research to document learning from the OLIve programmes and share good practice across the consortium to create open and transformative learning environments.
More than 70 institutions and teams were in the finals of the THE awards, with the standouts from more than 550 entries from all corners of the UK and Ireland. The 20 categories in the awards covered the full range of university activity - both academic and professional services, from front-line staff through all levels of leadership and management.
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