According to UNHCR, by 2018 Turkey was the country to host the largest number of refugees in the world for the third consecutive year. Almost one million of refugees were school-aged Syrian children, whose right to receive education is guaranteed under both international and Turkish law.
In regard with this increase in the number of hosted refugees living in city areas, there has been an increase of informal schools or temporary education centres (TECs), which are receiving financial aid to cover running costs and to pay the teachers.
However, the running and establishment of these schools was largely unregulated and operated outside of the national system, which resulted in only 14% of refugee children attending these schools.
According to UNCHR’S Refugee Education 2030 paper, in 2014, the Turkish Ministry of National Education issued a circular which established a regulatory framework within which these schools could operate and placed them under the coordination of the Ministry, which led to a greater standardization of education, data management and the regulation of organizations wishing to support these schools.
When the Syrian crisis entered its fifth year, Turkey’s government announced that they had a plan to ensure that with time all refugee children will be integrated in their national education system. By the end of the 2017/2018 school year, 63% of all Syrian children enrolled in education programmes were attending Turkish public schools and it is expected that this number will increase to include all Syrian children.
This successful programme and integration of Syrian children in Turkey’s schooling system show the perfect example of how these principles of responsibility and collaboration between host governments can ensure a successful inclusion of refugees on an international level.
Clara Santamaría González
8th October 2021