Government-Private Partnership Delivers Free Online Education to Refugees

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June 21, 2016; Thomas Reuters Foundation News

NPQ has written before about some ways technology can aid refugees. Now, other organizations are building upon that work.

According to its website, Coursera “provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online.” And now, in an unusual partnership with the U.S. State Department, the for-profit education provider will offer more than a thousand university courses free online to refugees around the globe.

The program launched Monday as part of World Refugee Day and will provide education on topics from computer coding to neuroscience. The program will depend upon nonprofit organizations to apply for financial aid for refugees with whom they are in contact, and the State Department will promote the program through embassies and consulates.

“Coursera for Refugees is designed to provide as many of them as possible with greater access to education in career relevant skills, as they navigate new homes and difficult times in their lives,” said Rebecca Taber, Coursera’s head of government partnerships, in a statement.

Coursera is not the first to provide online course availability to refugees. Kiron University in Berlin also does so.—Ruth McCambridge