British Council

We are here to complete our education, we have a goal, and our goal is to rebuild our country again.

Osama Almasalmeh, student


Life cycle



Middle East


European Union, The Madad Fund


To provide better access to higher education for refugees from Syria and young people in host communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.​


As a result of the enduring Syria refugee crisis, higher education systems in neighbouring host countries have been overwhelmed and only a small fraction of the vulnerable young refugees are currently enrolled in a university programme.

HOPES is a €12 million project, funded by the EU’s Madad Fund and implemented by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the British Council, Campus France and Nuffic. It aims to improve prospects for young Syrians and contribute to the preparation of the post-crisis reconstruction of Syria by providing access to higher education.


The HOPES Consortium of partners offer student counselling, scholarships, HEEAP (Higher Education English Access programmes) language courses, additional funding for local partners and a series of National Stakeholder Dialogues (NSDs) and regional conferences.

The consortium has approached the national Ministry of Higher Education and suitable higher education partners in each country to offer benefits to students. We are now working with a network of 18 HOPES partner institutions in the delivery of HEEAP programmes. In response to feedback from students and NSDs, HEEAP now includes travel stipends, IT support for students to access online materials, and a pathway to an IELTS programme and test.


In providing better access to higher education, HOPES has:

  • helped 620 students through full scholarships
  • advised 24,821 students on academic paths
  • funded 32 local projects (8,525 direct beneficiaries) enabled policy dialogue through two regional conferences and 15 NSDs

HEEAP programmes have helped students overcome language barriers and built the capacity of institutions by training 255 teachers and offering 8,194 entry tests and 6,287 places on courses. 2,587 students have completed the courses successfully, whilst 142 students have completed the new IELTS programme. A large majority of students across countries say these courses helped with their own academic courses, and the majority improved by at least one CEFR level.

HOPES benefits Syrians and locals at a 70/30 ratio and has a near 50/50 distribution between male and female beneficiaries.

Mutual benefit

A large network of universities demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the Middle East and the Syrian community by sharing expertise in the fields of language learning and higher education - 18 are directly involved in delivering HEEAP courses in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The project demonstrates the UK’s commitment to continue to be a strong partner for EU funded interventions, generating influence and attraction in the UK’s higher education community and ability to deliver with international partners.