85 percent of Syrian children still suffer from war trauma: Report
The “Education Research Report for Syrian Children,” prepared by the Istanbul-based association “Mavi Kalem” (Blue Pen), Istanbul’s Provincial Directorate for National Education and the Malala Fund, has revealed impressive progress concerning the issue, but shows that the devastating impacts of the Syrian war still haunt the youngsters.
“Some 85 percent of Syrian students still live with the memories of war. We have seen that these have different effects on female and male students,” Gülcan Kılıç, the project’s coordinator, was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu Agency at an Istanbul event organized to disclose the findings of the report.
Kılıç further elaborated that 47 percent of Syrian students are in need of psychological support.
“Some 58.3 percent of male students, for instance, have the tendency to be more aggressive, while this figure is 17.1 percent for female students. We have seen that the trauma of the war has caused 47.9 percent of Syrian girls to become introverted,” she said.
“Besides this, fear, apathy, depression and solitude overtly show the effects of war on children,” she added.
It is not always easy to detect the children’s problems so one-to-one interviews with 252 teachers in contact with Syrian children aged 10-14 were conducted for more realistic outcomes, Kılıç said.
“Some 84.7 percent of teachers said the quality of education can be either qualified as average, good or very good. One of the most striking results of the report is that 83.7 percent of teachers still sense the traumatic sentiments of war and mass migration [that the children felt],” she said.
According to the coordinator, some 86.5 percent of male students still suffer from war trauma while this figure is 84.5 percent for females.
Some 90,000 Syrians out of 150,000 school-aged children in Istanbul are attending schools in the province, said Serkan Gür, the deputy director of the Istanbul provincial education directorate.
“The schooling rate rose to 98 percent from 70 percent and this rate is 65 percent in Istanbul. That we have reached these figures, despite all the difficulties in a country like Turkey which has a rapid and intense flow of migrants, shows our success,” he said.
Schooling rates are relatively lower among male students, as opposed to female students, according to Gür.
Gür also stressed that the works of the Education Ministry contribute significantly to Turkey’s migration policy.
“We attach great importance to psychological support for these students to have peaceful lives as they come from compelling conditions of warfare,” he said.
An important party of this is the education teachers undergo, according to the deputy director.
“We have trained about 1,600 teachers who are tasked with the education of Syrian children, and we continue to do so,” he said.
“About 700 teachers were granted citizenships during this process. We have very qualified and equipped teachers. They are both doing wonderful works to educate Syrian children and contribute to Turkey’s developments,” he added.