Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences receives German Employers’ Prize for Education

On 15 November 2016 the Employers’ Association in Berlin awarded the 2016 German Employers’ Prize for Education in four categories. The prizes are each worth €10,000 and were awarded in the following categories: early childhood, school, vocational and university education. Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences was singled out for its initiative, introduced in 2015, to enable refugees to study.

With its “Integration of political refugees with academic backgrounds or ambitions” initiative, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences is one of the first universities in Germany or Europe to offer a sustainable concept for those people seeking refuge in other countries who hold qualifications entitling them to study at a university. Refugees interested in studying for a degree pass through a multi-stage programme. After individual interviews to ascertain their suitability, their qualifications are checked. If their documents are incomplete and cannot be presented, they must sit an entrance examination. Once this hurdle has been overcome, the potential students have access to various integration programmes ranging from the Buddy Programme and the opportunity to be a guest student, to psychosocial support, a preparatory Summer School and a one-year intensive language course at target level C1 in preparation for studying. Later, when applying for a course and during their transition to studying, they receive further support. The integration plan is part of the overall strategy of the university, is scientifically monitored and builds on a broad regional and nationwide cooperation network.

The Rector, Professor Dr. Anne Lequy, and the Syrian student, Hiba Mahmood, accepted the award on behalf of Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. Mahmood was among the first refugees to make use of the university’s integration project. After successfully completing the German course and applying for the degree course, since October 2016 she has been studying Industrial Design at Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. More course participants are expected to commence their studies at the university in the 2017 summer semester. 

Professor Dr. Anne Lequy, Rector of Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences said, “The initiative is an expression of solidarity and the self-perception of our university which, alongside higher specialist education, also includes ethical and moral values and social and economic responsibility. It is the result of great joint efforts by committed members of the university and our partners in the state government, industry and society of Saxony-Anhalt.”

In particular, the jury recognised examples of best-practice that show how integration can be successfully initiated. The motto of this year's awards was the call to “Diversity of opportunity.” Education for successful integration - focus on refugees”.


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