Kiron uses an innovative combination of online and offline learning to provide accessible, sustainable, and cost-effective education. To date, we have over 1,000 students, 23 partner universities, and 4 degree programmes. That's over 1,000 lives changed already. Kiron offers much more than just online learning. Our vision is to reinvent the traditional concept of a university: with a diverse range of partners, we are striving to create an education model that is more accessible, more human-centred, and more supportive of personal growth.
Loukas Koubouris How you describe Kiron University?
Alice Schmidt We have a vision of a free worldwide education without barrier so that a refugee can have education in every country and the barriers doesn't matter. The great perspective would be to have something like a «world refugee university» where everyone is included and you don't have the problem of high cost tuition fees for education.
Loukas Koubouris Do you think that Kiron helps the refugees to integrate to society through education?
Alice Schmidt Yes, I think it's a very important step. As I said that the status of students changes, the of gain self-confindence is important. They attend many events and say that they're students and they meet with their fellow students, they make communities, and also in the third year they go to a partner university, so share the same classes with german people. Also we have social hubs where they can work and meet each other.
Loukas Koubouris What are the course subjects that Kiron teaches?
Alice Schmidt We have for example computer science, we have engineering, entrepreneurship, economics and we're looking also for more. You can have a look into all courses till the second year and then you can decide which field is the most interesting. As I said the courses are provided from the partner university, so we don't create them, they're already created.
Loukas Koubouris How can you see the idea develops for both students and the team of volunteers?
Alice Schmidt There are passionate young people who are looking to do something in life with a sense. Many of them started to work in some kind of company or on consulting and then they saw that they're doing something but they don't know why. They come to us to feel included, to be part of something. It's easy because we have the structure of a company, a social company of course, we have departments, we do cooperations. As for the students we see that they are very thankful when they have this opportunity, we get many letters from people that want to study in Kiron.
Loukas Koubouris Are the courses targeted to help refugees find jobs after they finished?
Alice Schmidt Yeah, until now that's the fact. We try to provide people with qualification that gonna help them find a job and we know also until this moment that all of our students who will have a degree in the end, they will have also the opportunity to work for companies who told us that they're interested in them because they're fluent in Arabic. We believe that in the future we will establish some more society based courses such as sociology.
Loukas Koubouris How you hope the idea of Kiron will develop?
Alice Schmidt We re having a process of growing on international field, we have a station in Brussels, London, Stockholm, Istanbul, Amsterdam, in Paris and we are trying to build up more places and stations to achieve someday our vision for a world wide university because for that we need structures and many big places for we have many refugees, so this is one of our goals, to have an international standing, and to cooperate more with companies like Google for example, they're helping is in many ways, bot technical and financial.
Loukas Koubouris Given the fact that many refugees are educated, is there an interest from them to continue in Kiron what they dropped out in Syria?
Alice Schmidt Yes, many of them and this is very good because they don’t have problem catching up with their German colleagues. Many of them also have documents that certificate their studies in Syria so it's possible for the partner universities to insert them in their current programs.