The Higher Education for Refugees and Asylum seekers Network (HERAN) was established in 2003 as part of the Equal project, ASSET UK. It was set up by the Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU), a specialist unit within London Metro that provides advice and guidance, specialist training programmes and work placement schemes for refugees and asylum seekers with high level education and professional qualifications. They also do research into refugee issues and provide information for asylum seekers and information and training for those working with them.
Since dispersal started in 1999, RAGU has received many enquiries from colleges and universities throughout the UK about issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers who want to access higher education. Typically, enquiries have been about:
– eligibility, access and funding for asylum seekers
– ways of obtaining recognition and accreditation of overseas qualifications and experience
– school leavers who are accepted to universities but then find that, as asylum seekers, they are considered to be overseas students
– lack of consistency or contradictions in policies or practices in different institutions
– examples of models of good practice in providing courses and services for refugees and asylum seekers with higher level education or professional qualifications
RAGU’s APEL (Assessment of Prior and Experiential Learning) programme for refugees and asylum seekers
In response to this, RAGU decided that there was a clear need to establish a forum to develop a more coordinated and national approach in different Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in policy and practice, to disseminate information and to share experience and examples of good practice. Furthermore, a network could become a representative UK-wide group to influence and inform policy development.
The network has members from 26 universities and colleges around the UK. We meet twice a year at London Metropolitan University. Because not everyone is able to attend meetings, we have also created this website to disseminate information and to allow members to exchange information and ideas.