DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
1- Study and career guidance for newly arrived academics (NYAK) before entering the university. An early understanding of the Swedish education system and labour market makes it easier for a newly arrived individual to make well-informed choices for their studies and career in Sweden. The initiative was initiated and initially financed by the Swedish National Employment Agency, in cooperation with a number of HEIs in Southern Sweden.
2- Swedish as a second language on different levels are offered to a great extent at Malmö University, from beginner level to the level of general entry requirements and above.
3- Malmö University works in its regular mission with recognition of studies and prior learning on several levels. For many years, Malmö University has been working to introduce structures for validation processes for entry requirements as well as credit transfer. This is based on the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance as well as nationally and internationally accepted principles and guidelines for validation processes.
4- Facing a large number of refugees in their community, students and staff from Malmö University started a Malmö University for Refugees initiative, “to use the power of higher education and research in support of human rights and refugees in the world.” The university-wide program, supported by the Malmö University administration, gives students and staff the opportunity to act under the umbrella of Malmö University for Refugees.
5- A number of so-called fast-track programmes for newly arrived, financed by the Swedish National Employment Agency, were created during and after the influx of asylum seekers 2015. These programmes were short complementary educations for teachers, public sector officers and engineers. Only the teachers’ fast-track programme is currently running at Malmö University. The general aim with all these initiatives is to shorten the way to the Swedish labour market.
1- Study and career guidance in groups and individually, with an interpreter if needed.
2- The language courses have different target groups, some are aimed exclusively at exchange students, and others to refugees and other immigrants alike.
3- Recognition of studies includes:
- Formal documented higher education (completed)
- Formal documented higher education (not completed)
- Formal undocumented higher education
- Prior learning (non-formal), such as other kind of education, self-studies etc.
- Prior learning, work experience
- Prior learning (informal), other
Concerning entry requirements, we have come a long way by investing in one process structure with clear functions within two main focuses, mapping and assessment, but also the handling function and collaboration between faculties/education and the support for admission and guidance/mapping. The function validation coordinator within the faculties has been very important for the work. These are also crucial in the work on validation in credit transfer.
4- Some of the activities under Malmö University for Refugees include teaching refugees the Swedish language; fundraising for the Red Cross; offering open lectures; handing out toothbrushes to refugees all over Europe; and organizing a conference focused on unaccompanied minors, undocumented migrants, and work related to anti-racism. A number of these activities are conducted in cooperation with NGOs, the City of Malmö, and other actors.
5- In the introduction phase of the programme, an individual study plan is put together in cooperation with each student. The plan consists of theoretical studies within the individual student’s field of interest, general and individual career planning and a qualified internship with an employer. The career planning course has three foci: gathering the correct information about ones’ potential labour market, skills and personality inventory and communicating the right skills at the right time to the right person.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
1- It is difficult to measure the impact on this initiative, but the activities have been highly popular and frequented. One major challenge from January 2020 is that the National Employment Agency no longer finances the initiative, and the HEIs will therefore have to finance the activities themselves.
2- The most salient benefit of studying Swedish as a second language at a University, is that the courses prepare for academic studies, which is rarely the case in other Swedish as a second language learning institutions.
3- It is difficult to specify the impact of the recognition of studies’ activities because these are not registered according to the “origins” of the competences. In addition to that, the applicants often have a mix of “Swedish” and “foreign” experiences that together form the knowledge and skills to be assessed.
5- The outcomes vary, but a large number of students go directly into a qualified job within their field after – or sometimes during – the education.