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March 21, 2016

Czech Academia Helps Refugees

Czech Academia Helps Refugees

Although the Czech Republic has received few refugees compared to neighbouring Germany, the recent migrant crisis is a high-profile concern. As the Czech NaNet coordinator, Charles University's Faculty of Humanities supports refugees in a variety of ways.

The faculty is offering free tuition to immigrants or refugees who have been granted asylum and the right to reside in the Czech Republic. Charles University is waiving tuition fees for study programmes in English for applicants who meet their admissions criteria, including passing an English-language proficiency test, and offers to provide accommodation for these students. It is expected that, in the first round, around 10 immigrant students will matriculate, and that they will then be able to join study groups with regular foreign students on accredited programmes in English.

The management of the faculty is also considering supporting students who plan to help refugees in the Balkans. Special stipends covering the students’ living expenses are being considered.

A number of activities are being promoted on the faculty's website and social media, including a Facebook page and other sites where students can offer help, and where students who are already helping can share their experiences. The faculty has also supported the establishment of the Student Movement for Solidarity platform.

Student Movement for Solidarity
This newly created platform links people throughout the Czech Republic. It is open not only to students, but to anyone interested in helping refugees. The primary aim is to open a channel of communication between the general public and those personally engaged in the refugee issue.

In addition to operating an online forum for objective and rational debate, the creators of the platform also organise lectures and discussions not only for university students but also for school pupils and the general public. The focus is on raising awareness in regions outside the main cities, sharing the authentic experiences of volunteers working in the Balkans, and underpinning their stories with relevant facts and expert accounts. The student movement allows for organisational flexibility in terms of both form and content. Lectures and presentations are offered at secondary schools as well as municipal, cultural and social centres, while the aim is also to engage the academic community directly in discussions.