School teaches 180 migrant children from 8 countries
Some 180 children from migrant families from eight countries are studying together at the same school in the Turkish province of Aksaray.
The neighborhood in which the school is located is home to a sizable migrant population from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Somalia.
“Afghan students learn Turkish faster than other children as their parents encourage them to learn the language. In the case of Syrians, obviously, we have to teach them first the alphabet then move forward starting with basic and practical words, such as pencil, notebook,” said Selman Emre Darılmaz, the school’s principal.
Some 220 students attend the school, and 140 of them are Afghan children while others are from different countries, according to Darılmaz.
He noted that children improve their language skills fast as they speak Turkish among themselves.
“Since we have many migrant students, we participate in Erasmus projects. There has been a project ongoing called Erasmus Plus since 2019 which focuses on helping children adapt to school systems in Europe.”
Darılmaz said that in 2019, as part of this project, four teachers from the school paid a visit to Spain to observe how children of migrant families from different countries, such as Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, adapt. Another delegation from the school traveled to Romania in 2020, and some 20 educators from Spain and Romania visited their school, Darılmaz added.
“I have 29 students in this classroom, and all of them have adapted very well,” said Gözde Özkılıç, a teacher.
Most of the children speak Turkish, but some still speak little, Özkılıç added.
“We take all the decisions together. This is a very fun and lively classroom. Some of the students had gone through heavy traumatic experiences…but I can see that they are very happy now.”