Platform collaboration offers free online courses to migrants and refugees

Opening of the SaorEd platform with a list of digital and IT courses

Life

Image: Vlada Karpovich/Pexels


A new online platform which provides free access to education and training courses for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds across Ireland has been launched. A collaborative initiative between three Irish non-profit organisations; Doras, New Horizon and Dignity Partnership, SaorEd aims to provide free access to a range of beginner and advanced level courses. Initial offerings include English classes, information technology skills, health care, and career preparation courses.

Initial language courses taught on SaorEd include Introduction to English Language, Intermediate English for University, English for Arabic Speakers, and Advanced English for Work. The Computer Skills study track will cover basic digital skills (in English and Arabic), intermediate computer skills, as well as more advanced courses such as web design with HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

SaorEd offers study programs using open online courses (MOOCs) from reputable education providers. The initial offers are based on a survey of over 100 people who are in or out of direct supply. Over the coming months, the platform will be expanded to include courses in other areas that will help open pathways to employment and further education.

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John Lannon, CEO of Doras, said: “It is difficult for people living in remote areas, especially direct supply centers, to access regular transport to attend in-person training. SaorEd can provide them with pathways to continuing education and employment. The platform is also useful for parents of young children who cannot access mainstream education during the day. It is also available to people facing financial barriers to education, who may not qualify for the Back to Education Allowance, for example.

“Refugees and asylum seekers are among the most marginalized people in Irish society. Direct providers in particular face enormous challenges when it comes to managing their mental health and finding ways to participate in Irish society. Education is a doorway to inclusion, connection and dignity. It opens doors of possibilities and opportunities that are so critical for people who often flee war, poverty and persecution. Making education and training accessible is vital. There are currently too many obstacles, which is why SaorEd is important. The level of interest in it has already taken us by surprise and the potential is exciting. We hope funders and partners will join us to help build this exciting platform.”

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Read more: Doras e-learning