British Council

'So many possibilities have come out of it. I’ve started volunteering for many organisations, and going to conferences where I met the LASER staff. I did a course and got an EU certificate in leadership, and I even met the Minister of Education. When I think about it, I used to be a factory worker, but this course has changed my entire life.' - Ahmed Noah, LASER student


Life cycle



Jordan and Lebanon


European Commission


To help young Syrians and disadvantaged Jordanians build their future through the provision of language, academic skills and higher education courses.


The refugee crisis reached its peak in 2015. At this time there was an urgent need for young Syrians to gain greater access to higher education, and that language and academic skills were required in order to gain this access. At this time in Jordan, refugees were unable to access local universities, making it challenging to enter higher education.

Comprising two components, the project provides language training, academic readiness skills, coaching and distance education programmes to help displaced Syrians and disadvantaged youth to find new opportunities to continue their higher education.


The first component of the project involved language and academic skills training. These included: 

  • Language and academic skills training courses in Jordan / Lebanon in English for 3,100 Syrian and disadvantaged Jordanian students 
  • Coaching for students during a 12-week intensive course (or possibly longer depending on the learning route)
  • Provision for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or an alternative examination.

The second component comprised distance learning and further education elements:

  • In total, 560 students have followed distance and face-to-face education programmes, leading to a recognised certificate
  • Students are coached online during 10 per cent of their study time in support of their recognised certificate, degree courses or online short courses.


The successful delivery of the project has resulted in:

  • 2,900 learners trained in English and academic skills with language, whilst satisfaction rates scored between 90-100 per cent
  • A total of 4,057 students were enrolled during the period of classes for component one (language and academic skills)
  • Reintegration of targeted students into the higher education system by providing them with language training, academic readiness skills, coaching and distance education programmes
  • 80 per cent of students were able to reach B1 level on language proficiency tests
  • Students achieve certificates, diplomas and degrees at higher education level
  • Higher education has been made available to students in refugee camps.

Mutual benefit

By providing academic and language skills to refugees and displaced people, we have created close relationships with UK organisations and expertise who have collaborated with us on our portfolio of programmes. 

For example, we assisted our UK partner, the Open University (OU), with the opportunity for their development office to trial higher education for refugees. The OU are now expanding their offer to refugees and displaced people.

In MENA, greater access to quality language education for young people is fostering resilience and mobility and thereby contributes to the wider stability and prosperity necessary for the region and the wider world.