UEL to offer postgraduate scholarships to Syrian refugees

John Joughin - Vice chancellor at UEL

John Joughin - Vice chancellor at UEL - Credit: UEL

The University of East London has announced plans to reserve postgraduate scholarships for 10 refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

Last month, the government announced that it would make space for 20,000 Syrian refugees to settle in the United Kingdom over the next five years and UEL has since become the first of four universities to pledge its support to refugees by offering 10 paid-for postgraduate scholarships to begin next year.

Prof John Joughin, vice-chancellor at the university, said: “No one could fail to be moved by the plight of these desperate people.

“This university is passionate about migration issues so this crisis goes to the very core of who we are.

“We are ideally placed to help. East London has a long and proud history as a place of settlement for refugees and is now one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the capital. This is mirrored in our university, where we welcome students from more than 120 countries.”

Three other universities – York, Warwick and Sussex – have since offered their own schemes for refugees.

Rita Chadha, executive director of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (Ramfel), said she applauds the initiative.

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She added: “Some of the refugees who will be coming here will have a high set of skills and they will become an asset to our community and country so I applaud the university for such a progressive approach.

“It would’ve also been great to see some undergraduate placements being offered at UEL because many of the youngsters you find in the camp would’ve had their education halted so they will really need support.

“But altogether it is a great initiative.”

A spokesman for UEL explained that it wanted to see how successful the scheme was before expanding to undergraduate opportunities, adding that it could be “very difficult to establish the academic qualifications of an undergraduate candidate, whereas, postgraduate applicants would have already been awarded a degree.

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