Some 60 percent of Syrian children in Turkey have access to schooling: UNICEF
REUTERS photoNearly half a million Syrian refugee children are currently enrolled in schools across Turkey, according to figures provided by UNICEF, adding that 40 percent of school-age children do not have access to education.
Despite an increase in enrolment of more than 50 percent since last June, 380,000 child refugees are still missing out on an education, the U.N.’s children’s organization said in recent statement.
“For the first time since the start of the Syrian crisis, there are more Syrian children in Turkey attending class than there are out of school,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth, speaking after a visit to UNICEF programs in southern Turkey.
“Turkey should be commended for this huge achievement. But unless more resources are provided, there is still a very real risk of a ‘lost generation’ of Syrian children, deprived of the skills they will one day need to rebuild their country,” Forsyth added.
Turkey is home to more than 1.2 million child refugees, making it the top child refugee hosting country in the world.
In partnership with the government, UNICEF is helping strengthen education systems, increase access to learning and improve the quality of inclusive education for Syrian and vulnerable Turkish children.
Since 2013, UNICEF has helped build, renovate or refurnish nearly 400 schools and trained some 20,000 Syrian volunteer teachers, the statement read.
Forsyth also praised the level of services provided to migrants in Turkish camps, adding that they are not comparable to similar facilities in other countries across the world.
The UNICEF figures matched information provided by Deputy Education Minister Orhan Erdem, who welcomed the visiting UNICEF team.
Some 497,000 out of 833,000 Syrian migrant children of school age are offered education, Erdem said.
“Probably the matter that we should talk with UNICEF more strongly about is the previously decided support of 30 liras per student ... These schools are subject to deterioration due to intensive education. They also have cleaning and material requirements. Therefore we are expecting more [UNICEF] support in this regard in order to meet these needs,” he added.