Doctors. Lawyers. Physicists. Humanities scholars. Psychologists. Every day, smart, highly skilled people are forced to flee their country of origin and seek refuge in Switzerland. Although they want to make a contribution to life in their new home, access to the Swiss higher education system and skilled jobs remains very difficult for many of them, despite their qualifications. Exacting language requirements, no recognition of earlier educational achievements and diplomas, and funding issues are just a few of the obstacles that stand in their way. In keeping with their commitment to promoting greater institutional openness and equal access to higher education for refugees, the Swiss Student Union (VSS) launched two programmes: Perspectives – Studies and INVOST – Integration pre-studies at Universities of Applied Sciences.
Perspectives – Studies
Perspectives – Studies, launched by the VSS in 2016, seeks to make it easier for refugees to access higher education. As part of this programme, we advise refugees, support local projects, brief professionals and lobby policymakers.
Published in 2016, the position paper and the demands set out in Hochschulzugang für studentische Geflüchtete [university access for student refugees] inform the programme’s activities. In 2020, we worked with more than 50 student refugees and student volunteers to update these demands. Our list of demands is set out here.
The core element of this project is www.perspektiven-studium.ch, an information platform designed specifically for refugees who are interested in enrolling at a university and for professionals who work with the refugee and asylum-seeker community. Perspectives – Studies is working with over 17 local projects launched since 2016. Based in the universities themselves, these projects provide refugees with a range of measures, including help with preparing for university admission and other key support services. You can find more information and contact details here: Overview of university projects.
Another strand of our work involves briefing education and integration professionals and bringing the different stakeholders together. The goal of these efforts is to ensure that well- qualified refugees receive the advice and support they need to embark on a course of study. Last but not least, we also lobby policymakers at the national, cantonal and university level to ensure that equal access to higher education extends to refugees too.
Are you a refugee in Switzerland, interested in studying in Switzerland? Or do you want to have your degree recognised? Are you helping and supporting refugees and are in need of information about studying in Switzerland? Do you want to start a project supporting highly qualified refugees?Contact us. Pespectives – Studies will support you with its knowledge and network.
A current insight:
Students call on the Federal Council for help | Zürcher Studierendenzeitung | 18 May 2021
From refugee to student (from 7:40) | SRF Regionaljournal Zürich Schaffhausen | 5 April 2021