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How can Dutch higher education insitutions improve the accessibility of their study programmes to refugee students?

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

How can Dutch higher education insitutions improve the accessibility of their study programmes to refugee students?

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The aim of this paper is to analyse current practices and issues regarding the accessibility of study programmes in Dutch HEIs for refugee students in order to improve the current situation. This was done by researching relevant literature, looking into the role of networks, and analysing best practices in Germany. A ‘general inductive approach’ was used in order to give a conclusive answer to the research question. For the purpose of this research, it was chosen to adopt a qualitative research method, which included three interviews with a total of four experts. The first important finding is that the barriers to study programme accessibility are political, regulatory and cultural in nature. The main challenges that were identified are the following: a political climate favouring assimilation over integration, regulatory barriers such as unattainable entry requirements for study programmes, language barriers that do not allow the student to properly transfer their academic potential, discrimination, stereotypes and cultural misunderstandings that undermine the acculturation process and the final barrier is that the refugee student is new to the Dutch study culture, in which the emphasis lies on low-hierarchy, project-based group work. The role of international networks in combatting these barriers was found to be limited. The Dutch Taskforce for Refugee in Higher Education however, has played an important role in bringing key stakeholders together and streamlining processes regarding study programme accessibility.
Other crucial findings evolve around current practices to enhance access to Dutch study programmes. The first is that there is an issue with a lack of proper counselling for refugee students, which is reinforced by the Dutch culture’s emphasis on self-reliance. Secondly, the fact that Dutch HEIs struggle with adopting more inclusive teaching styles might relate to Dutch teachers’ informal policy of non-differentiation. This is ingrained in the political landscape as well, as the Dutch lean towards assimilation over integration. Investigating ways to enhance access to Dutch study programmes has disclosed many challenges of a political, regulatory and cultural nature. Since having a positive acculturation process is key to whether or not a study programme is accessible to the refugee student, it is recommended for Dutch HEIs to focus their efforts on lowering acculturative stress experienced by this group. More in particular, inspiring practices in Germany can teach Dutch HEIs to focus more on counselling. Appointing one contact person per HEI for all refugee students is one possible way of doing that.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iris-van-wilgen-265b4490

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2018
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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