Involving students in planning higher education

Including refugee perspectives in higher education.

Involving students in planning higher education

Including refugee perspectives in higher education.

Including refugee perspectives in higher education.

Contact details

Submitted by

Alessandra Carminati, Corporate Communications Manager, Jesuit Worldwide Learning

Email: [email protected]


Twitter: @jwlupdates

Facebook: @JesuitWorldwideLearning

Instagram: jesuitworldwidelearning

Introduction to the project


Kenya, Malawi, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan



This first phase of the process will culminate in the fall of 2019, with a first round of workshops. After evaluation of findings and outcomes, additional activities will be conducted.


Only 3 per cent of refugees have access to higher education. While this is an improvement from 1 per cent, we know much more still needs to be done in order to reach 15 per cent by 2030. We reaffirm the need for inclusion of refugees’ views, including those of refugee youths, as part of a joint effort to identify, design and implement solutions to extend higher education. Jesuit Worldwide Learning has already included its refugee student body in the development of the Youth Sports Facilitator professional certificate course and is implementing a student-led model across a number of community learning centres. As a next step, we are preparing to hold a series of student consultations in Iraq, Kenya, Malawi and Afghanistan through which we aim to identify ways of giving greater access to, and completion of, higher education. The workshops are being designed in consultation with UNHCR and Mosaik and aim to include the views of students from different programmes and initiatives. We would encourage wider student consultations and the incorporation of findings into initiatives by other organizations, so all can contribute to enabling refugees to lead more dignified, productive and self-reliant lives.

Project aims

With a view to achieving the target of 15 per cent by 2030, we seek to include refugees’ views on existing barriers to higher education, propose solutions and identify best practices. Their contributions will serve to evaluate and adjust JWL’s model to better serve them. We also seek to hear how they are willing to commit themselves to the achievement of identified goals. JWL will step up to the challenge by developing its pledge(s) based on the outcomes of these consultations. The outcomes could also inspire the development of improved and/or innovative solutions or hold further consultations.

Resources used

Travel to locations by facilitators to engaging with other organisations.


Mosaik, UNHCR

Challenges and how they were overcome


  • Training of facilitators and local teams, logistics, selecting, capacity-building/accompaniment of staff and students in diverse contexts

How the challenges are being addressed

  • Scaffolded and long-term training

Results of the Good Practice 

  • Involving students and their communities in the conversation will allow them to own the educational programmes that they will contribute to.
  • Workshop participation will add a sense of ownership and responsibility. The students and their communities will not only be beneficiaries, but will become stakeholders, and this will improve elf-esteem and commitment to the educational programme and prevent dropouts.

Next steps

  • Evaluate workshop findings. 
  • Identify how to incorporate findings into JWL’s work and organise follow-up activities.