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OpenLearn launches Open Sanctuary Hub, a collection of free resources to support refugees

The OpenLearn Open Sanctuary Hub is a collection of existing and new free resources - articles, videos, audio, and courses – that directly support refugees, people in the asylum system and the wider community.

The hub has drawn on existing content already on OpenLearn and will also include newly commissioned content created specifically for the hub and will be linked to the core faculty areas within The Open University. Dr Neil Graffin, Senior Lecturer in Law, of the Faculty of Business and Law, OU Law School is one of a team of experts providing academic support. 

The Hub is designed as a space of welcome, looking to support the learning journeys of learners in contexts that constitute forced displacement. It is well known that quality higher education (HE) is not easily accessible by the forcibly displaced. The numbers are alarming: in 2021, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide had risen to 89.3 million - the highest ever recorded (UNHCR, 2022). This figure does not include the millions of people who fled Ukraine due to on-going conflict. The average length of displacement is now estimated to be over 25 years (UNHCR, 2016). This means that tens of millions of people have their education journeys disrupted and only 5% of refugees participate in HE (UNHCR, 2021). Demand for digital learning resources and digital and blended educational provision are growing, affording those learners flexibility in time, space, and pace of learning.

The Hub’s primary aim is to collate educational resources that will be tailored to forcibly displaced learners’ needs and will help them develop core study skills. Relevant resources include English in writing and communication skills, digital literacy skills, developing good academic practice, or skills needed to be successful in studying online and at a distance. In addition to this, the Hub also collates relevant courses on migration and displacement, including ‘Introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor’ to help visitors to the hub to better understand the UK immigration law system. Courses that have been created by the Open University in response to the conflict in Ukraine are also included in the hub. 

Open Sanctuary Hub is a go-to place for those who would like to learn basic linguistic, research, and other aspects to assist them with their remote learning journey at the Open University. The hub is used friendly and can be accessed from different devices. This one-stop hub can be easily navigated and easily used. Plenty of information and courses are available that would be helpful to you in your learning journey”

Ahmad Al-Rashid
Visiting Academic Research Fellow

The content has been created by experts in and outside the OU and pulled together by the OpenLearn team in conjunction with the OU's academic community and the OU's Sanctuary Advisory Network. The Hub is supported by the OpenLearn team and the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS).  

  • Academic support: Dr Koula Charitonos (Senior Lecturer, IET), Mr Ahmad Al-Rashid (Visiting Research Fellow FASS and International Organisation for Migration), Dr Marie Gillespie (Professor, FASS), Mrs Olwyn O’Malley (Staff Tutor, WELS) and Dr Neil Graffin (Senior Lecturer, FBL). 
  • Supporting online content: Daniel Browne 

The Hub launched in March 2023, with content being continually added. 

Visit the Open Sanctuary Hub.