The „refugee crisis“ has become a crisis of the EU. There is still no agreement among the EU Member States what will happen to the immigrants who enter the EU every day, the so called ‘refugee deal’ between the EU and Turkey is highly criticized.
On the one hand, EU citizens are welcoming and supportive; on the other hand, they perceive refugees as a threat to internal security. An increase of votes for right wing parties throughout Europe is visible (Law and Justice in Poland, UKIP in UK, AfD in Germany etc.) and violence against refugees and people who allegedly look ‘different’, is also increasing.
Against this background, universities are needed in order to enable students to take a differentiated stand. On the part of the EU Commission, an active and informed European citizenship is the key: “Education and training are crucial to prevent and tackle poverty and social exclusion and discrimination and to build a foundation on which active citizenship rests” [“New priorities for education and training (ET2020)”, p.2].
The REFLECT LAB project intends to support universities, more specifically lecturers, to implement the currently discussed implementation of inquiry based learning. For these socio-scientific teaching/learning laboratories - REFLECT LABs - will be developed and tested. The objective is to establish an innovative course structure, which fosters self-directed learning at Higher Education Institutions (HEI). Students do autonomous research in REFLECT LABs with socio-scientific methods towards pressing political and socially issues. Lecturers accompany and support this process and the critical discussion. As such, the project sets a counterpoint to the widely criticized reduction of learning in HEI to sole knowledge transfer.