Gov’t directs Syrian refugee children to Turkish schools
Gamze Kolcu – ANKARASyrian refugee children in Turkey are set to receive compulsory Turkish education, according to new regulations imposed by the Turkish Education Ministry, which has also decided that Syrian children should be directed to official schools.
The ministry has prepared a report regarding the education statuses of foreign students under temporary protection in Turkey and made it obligatory for kindergarten and elementary school children to register.
The ministry decided to offer an intensive Turkish language program to those who have already begun going to schools in Turkey before they move to upper classes in official Turkish schools.
According to data from November 2016 of the Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management, the efforts to gradually register some 833,039 Syrian children at school age to official schools under the ministry have been ongoing.
Access to education has been provided to a total of 492,544 students who arrived in Turkey with mass migration.
In 14,742 schools under the ministry, a total of 193,503 students, of whom 169,121 are Syrians and 24,382 are Iraqis who were forced to leave their countries because of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are receiving education under the Turkish curriculum.
A total of 291,039 Syrian children have been receiving education based on intensive Turkish teachings in 404 Temporary Education Centers (GEM) in 20 provinces.
In addition, there are 8,002 students registered in open schools. Some 283,248 people attended vocational, technical and general courses organized by the Public Education Centers (HEM), which functions under the ministry, and 170,441 people joined the Turkish courses at the centers.
In the GEMs, Syrians receive 15 hours of Turkish classes in addition to education in their own language and curriculums.
The ministry aims to gradually transfer Syrian students to official schools after they receive Turkish and academic-based courses.
Formed under the General Directorate of Lifelong Learning, the Department of Migration and Emergency Education has planned “Adaptation Programs to Formal Education” in order to reduce the psychosocial problems that might be experienced by students to the lowest level possible.
Students are also taught Turkish in public education centers.
In GEMs, there are a total of 13,178 volunteers who are willing to give education to Syrians. A wage worth 1,300 Turkish Liras a month, financed by UNICEF, is being paid to volunteers.
Authorities are planning to complete the transition process in three years in order for the speedy registration of students to official schools.
Students will be able to receive additional courses on Arabic language and culture in order not to forget their own languages and cultures.