Initial scoping for the Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme in 2020 highlighted that one issue high on the agenda for many Scottish higher education institutions is how best to support refugees and asylum seekers - an issue that has since been brought into sharper focus due to developments in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Institutions have adopted different approaches, informed by their understandings of the needs of their learners, staff and the communities in which they are based.
This report considers practice at all 19 higher education institutions in Scotland, along with a sample of six colleges. It summarises current practice across the sector, highlights specific examples of good practice, and concludes with pointers to future sector-wide development along with links to organisations and resources that offer further information and support.
Engaging with refugees and asylum seekers
The Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme has included projects on student mental wellbeing and support for refugees and asylum seekers, so we were delighted to be approached by the Mental Health Foundation with an offer of training that was relevant to both of these important areas.
The experience of forced migration can have a profound negative impact on an individual's mental health. Conversely, participating in civic forums and decision-making can promote a more positive impact, and this is the focus of the Mental Health Foundation's Elevate project. In this session our facilitators, Mahdi Saki and Rosie Burrell, outlined the rights and entitlements of refugees and asylum seekers and some ways in which colleagues in education settings can support them.