University of Oulu

The right to higher education for refugee students : analysis of higher education policies in the Republic of Croatia

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Author: Kralj, Dea1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Pages: 93
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : D. Kralj, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-08-19
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Lehtomäki, Elina
Reviewer: Petäjäniemi, Maria
Lehtomäki, Elina


International migrations are not a new phenomenon; however, the movement of people across borders in recent years is becoming more diverse with an increasing impact on educational systems worldwide. The right to education is a fundamental human right for everyone, including refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced persons. Nevertheless, refugees experience limited access to education at all levels, and especially on the higher education level which is often overlooked as it is not mandatory.

This qualitative study relies on reflexive thematic analysis of official higher education policies in a post-socialist and most recent European Union member, the Republic of Croatia, and aims to provide an overview of the social dimension of Croatian higher education with the focus on refugees and refugee-like students in higher education. The research looks at how two higher education policy documents, Strategy for Education, Science and Technology (2014) and National Plan for Enhancing the Social Dimension of Higher Education in the Republic of Croatia 2019–2021 (2018) address the right to education for refugees according to the 4A Framework by Katarina Tomaševski. The 4A Framework implies that inclusive education systems ought to be: available, accessible, acceptable, and adaptable. The framework was adjusted for the higher education context and expanded with an additional marker of affordability.

The findings show that the Croatian higher education system does not have a standard policy around the inclusion of refugee students. Although there is consistency between the two analysed documents and there have been attempts and adjustments to make higher education more inclusive, policy gaps are detected in the adaptation of curriculum, the language of instruction as well as in recognition of prior learning, and quality of overall higher education reaching the conclusion that there is more that has to be done and given attention to.

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