Turkish ministry asks Istanbul education offices to funnel Syrians to religious schools

Turkish ministry asks Istanbul education offices to funnel Syrians to religious schools

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency

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The Education Ministry has reportedly asked all 39 district directorates in Istanbul to funnel Syrian students to religion-focused imam-hatip schools. 

“In the places with a high proportion of Syrians living, Syrian students should be funneled to imam-hatip middle schools and imam-hatip high schools,” read a letter sent by the Education Services for Foreigners Commission within the body of the Istanbul Directorate for National Education.

The letter, dated Sept. 8, was sent to all 39 district education directorates across Istanbul. 

The letter asked the district education offices to “enroll those who have come to our country and are of the school age to education institutions linked to the Ministry of Education on the condition that they have a foreigner identification card,” so long as they fit the requirements of the student placement and transfer commissions.   

On the condition of Syrian refugee children who are within the scope of the Turkish Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 but have not yet obtained a residence permit or identification card, the letter said the placement test regulations state that separate tests can be applied by local ministry officials. 

The letter also demanded that temporary education centers be closed if they do not have the approval of the Istanbul Governor’s Office, adding that the temporary education centers located in NGO buildings be transferred to official school buildings. 

Provincial commissions focused on the education services of foreigners under “temporary legal protection,” especially Syrian refugees, were previously established across Turkey at the request of the Education Ministry. These commissions are currently responsible for the execution of decisions taken by the ministry in relation to refugee students in the country.