The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is launching a new scheme to help refugees access higher education in development economics.
The goal of this new collaboration is to empower refugees through training that will enable them to leverage their local knowledge, build their technical skills, and become experts in the fields of development economics and public policy.
Starting in the summer of 2018, J-PAL is teaming up with MIT’s Refugee Action (ReACT) initiative to provide access for selected refugees to the online MicroMasters program in Data, Economics and Development Policy (DEDP) offered by J-PAL and MIT’s Department of Economics. ReACT, which aims to connect refugees with higher education, will sponsor selected learners and provide access to five online MicroMasters DEDP courses on development economics; in-person workshops on business skills, and paid internships to put their skills into practice.
Hassan Jameel, president of Community Jameel Saudi Arabia, said: “Education and learning are fundamental to a strong society, and providing access to MIT’s MicroMasters is a foundation upon which to rebuild the disrupted education and careers of refugees worldwide.
“Building on computer science and entrepreneurship support for refugees in Jordan, this collaborative effort between J-PAL, MIT and ReACT creates another bespoke learning opportunity for refugees, opening doors and knocking down barriers to higher education for learners.”
A MicroMasters is a professional and academic credential, accredited by MITx, MIT’s online learning platform, and offers individuals a route to applying for a full master’s degree program at MIT or other universities.
The new initiative uses a carefully crafted model of blended learning — with financial support for online courses and in-person workshops, as well as strong emphasis on community building — to specifically target and overcome the educational challenges facing refugees. This track within ReACT aims to provide refugees with the tools they need to engage as technical experts with the problems facing their communities.