CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a joint effort to improve the lives of thousands of newly arrived Syrian and other refugees in Europe, edX today announced a partnership with Kiron that offers a pathway to earn free college credit. The collaboration, which begins April 2016, will provide online learning opportunities for thousands of current and new Kiron students who seek better lives after escaping Syria and other war-torn countries.
Kiron, whose mission is to enable access to free higher education for refugees, independent of national and/or personal and financial situations, will integrate 300 edX courses into its learning platform. EdX will issue free verified certificates for specific courses, translating to college credit with Kiron's university campus partners. The full slate of offerings will include introductory as well as university-level specialty courses.
After completing an initial slate of online courses (approximately 2-3 years) participating refugees will be given a chance to complete their studies on partner college campuses. Participating universities include edX partner RWTH Aachen University and other European universities. Many more edX university partners, including leading US institutions, are expected to join the effort in the coming months.
Vincent Zimmer, co-founder of Kiron, explains, "Education is the key to integration. The edX partnership with Kiron will offer an incredible number of displaced people new perspectives; the hope is to get them jobs that will change the trajectory of their lives for the better. With the strong partner edX on our side, we are looking into a bright future of our students."
"It has always been edX's mission to bring the world's best courses to anyone with a desire to learn – especially those who might not otherwise have the opportunity," said Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX and MIT professor. "The amazing people at Kiron share this mission – targeting their efforts to the thousands of refugees who have recently escaped war-torn countries. Together, we're able to directly offer life-changing learning opportunities for those most in need."
EdX will provide free certifications for specific courses and will work with its partner institutions, including founding institutions Harvard and MIT, to expand offerings that are of particular relevance to the thousands of refugees around the world seeking a path to a quality education.
"The partner universities in our global network are committed to developing a pathway for these new learners as they rebuild their lives in their new, welcoming home countries," added Agarwal.
EdX is a nonprofit, open-source learning destination offering online courses from more than 90 member institutions, composed of both leading global universities and colleges and a diverse group of prominent organizations from around the world. Founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and based in Cambridge, MA, USA, edX is focused on transforming online and classroom learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like educational experiences and cutting-edge research on an open-source platform.
Kiron Open Higher Education is a social start-up and nonprofit organization, founded in 2015 by Markus Kreßler and Vincent Zimmer. Its vision is to give access to higher education for displaced people. All excellent study programs may be commenced even before the asylum procedure has been executed and without the submission of official documents. Kiron aims to globally and unbureaucratically give displaced people opportunities through higher education, thus fostering integration in the host country. As a nonprofit, Kiron doesn't generate any revenues.
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