An online university for refugees has launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide free higher education for individuals who have suffered persecution in their home countries.
Kiron University, a social enterprise company headquartered in Berlin, will offer refugees a two-year online programme in partnership with providers of Moocs (massive open online courses), followed by one or two years at a partner institution. Students will be awarded a double degree, from both institutions.
Several universities in Germany, including the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and Heilbronn University, have signed up to the initiative. The organisation is in the process of seeking more partners in the UK, before rolling it out to other countries in Europe. It is targeting about 400,000 refugees in Europe, and so far 15,000 have signed up to start the programme in October.
Frances Tsakonas, president of International Students Network UK and the UK country manager of Kiron University, said the organisation hopes to raise €1.2 million (£900,000) for start-up operations through a crowdfunding campaign hosted by Startnext, so that it can launch the programmes next month. Kiron University is also looking for volunteers for its UK team.