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New resource to support Refugee-background tertiary learners to succeed

New resource to support Refugee-background tertiary learners to succeed

Last updated 15 November 2023
Last updated 15 November 2023

Refugee-background learners are an active but frequently overlooked learner group. They access, participate in, and complete tertiary education at significantly lower rates than their non-refugee-background peers. When tertiary education organisations miss opportunities to support them to realise their potential, they can struggle to achieve.

Refugee-background (RB) learners are diverse and resourceful and want to achieve in tertiary education.

Build your understanding and create an inclusive tertiary learning environment for refugee-background learners

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand National Tertiary Network to Support Refugee Background Learners, community and tertiary education representatives have produced Best Practice Guidelines to Support Refugee-Background Tertiary Learners in Aotearoa New Zealand. The guidelines are based on a comprehensive independent research report and the lived experience of staff and learners across the country.

The resource is designed to achieve an inclusive and equitable tertiary learning environment where RB learners can succeed and staff of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) become more confident in supporting them.

The Guidelines are packed with information and good practices TEOs can apply throughout every RB learner’s tertiary education journey. It covers five areas:

  • Pre-access – outreach and relationship building
  • Access – pathways and admission
  • Participation – transition, engagement and progression
  • Attainment – completion and graduation
  • Transitions out – graduate destinations.

The term “refugee-background” recognises any person who has entered, or is a resident in Aotearoa New Zealand as a result of one of six diverse pathways:

  1. The UNHCR Quota Programme
  2. Refugee and protection status (claim for asylum)
  3. Family reunification (Refugee Family Support Category)
  4. Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship
  5. Other migrant pathways
  6. Descent from former refugees.

The Guide is available at Refugee-background learners resources.

Learner success for all is a priority for the Tertiary Education Commission

We have large groups of learners who are currently underserved by the tertiary education system, including RB learners. We need to change that. TEC is working with a range of organisations to develop resources for TEOs so they better understand the special needs of underserved learners and can develop systems to support them to complete their education. Remember best practice for RB learners is best practice for all learners.

This work is part of the TEC’s Ōritetanga Learner Success work, to support all TEOs to put learners at the centre of their organisation.